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An E-Commerce Delivery Score Card

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Posted November 27, 2001 By Beth Cox     Feedback

You have to deliver the goods as well as sell them, and a new report from the fulfillment front tells us who's been naughty and who's been nice.

If you're doing business online, you have to deliver the goods as well as sell them, and a new industry tracking report is keeping tabs on which e-commerce merchants can get their stuff to the customers and which can't.

The early leaders in on-time performance are Tower Records, eBags, SmarterKids, JJill and Amazon.com, according to the most-recent shopping season data from Internet performance measurement company Keynote.

The laggards include LLBean, Circuit City and Williams-Sonoma, which missed on-time delivery for 83 percent of its last-minute orders (approximately 5 out of 6 orders), Keynote said.

All of the leaders have so far exceeded their stated delivery dates for orders placed since Oct. 29 by more than 56 percent, and have exceeded the 55 percent average for on-time delivery performance, Keynote said.

Keynote is reporting on online customers' shopping experience from the time they try to access a retail Web site (site performance and availability), through the time it takes to conduct a transaction such as placing an online order, to the fulfillment time it takes to receive orders at their doorstep.

The leader, Tower Records, leads in 'On-Time Shipping Performance' as well as in 'Online Delivery', beating their seven-day expectation by 85 percent, shipping orders in about one day. Tower Records "consistently exceeds expectations," Keynote said.

Interestingly, Keynote found that some retailers didn't provide shipping notification at all. Online customers of J Crew and Coldwater Creek were not notified by e-mail when their orders had shipped. And, online customers of Spiegel received no e-mail order confirmation or shipping notification after orders were placed on their Web site. On the other hand, one customer of an Amazon.com glitch was surprised to receive over 300 e-mail notifications that the same order had shipped.

So far this holiday season, the fulfillment performance of the average retailer has slowed by about half a day compared to last year, while the slowest retailer has improved and the fastest retailers' performance has remained about the same, Keynote said.

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