UK’s leading DTC brands go dark on customers after checkout


With retailers warning the UK’s supply chain crisis could put the timely delivery of Christmas presents in jeopardy, new data reveals that the UK’s leading DTC brands consistently fail to offer communication regarding delivery dates or order tracking after a purchase is made. The data shows that over three quarters of brands (78%) ignore their customers completely following the dispatch of a package, with one in ten failing to even inform the customer that the order is on the way.

The study conducted by parcelLab – the global leader in Operations Experience Management – has revealed that the UK’s leading direct to consumer (DTC) brands are not offering post-purchase communications to inform customers of the status of their orders. The findings show that 40% of the brands did not notify the customer when the package was delivered, leaving them in the dark on the status of their order. Just 12% of brands took responsibility for these notifications themselves, with many deferring to third parties.

The new data is part of the DTC series analysing the customer journey when ordering from the UK’s top 50 DTC brands including Peloton, Huel, and Hello Fresh. DTC brands are famous for being disruptors in their fields and have the potential to control the entire customer journey, but the findings from parcelLab reveal that there is a widespread lack of transparency and accountability from the brands after orders are made. Most were content to hand over this critical part of the journey to a third party – with nearly two thirds (58%) of the brands directing customers to a carrier’s tracking site, and only 8% of retailers taking direct control of the communication with the customer. Additionally, a staggering 38% of the brands either didn’t provide the customer with a tracking link or there was an error with it.

However, the report revealed DTC brands were not just failing to take responsibility for the entire customer journey, many also failed to fully utilise the potential of post-purchase communications. Direct communications with the customer at each touchpoint presents an opportunity for businesses to promote and attract new sales, but 96% of brands did not include product recommendations within shipping notifications.

Tobias Buxhoidt, Founder and CEO of parcelLab, commented: “For brands self-classified as innovators in their field, this represents an area that needs attention in order to deliver a high-quality customer experience. Particularly in times of turmoil and crisis it is crucial to provide a first-class customer experience and ensure the customer is not left in the dark at any stage.

While delays and shortages may often be unavoidable, proactive and transparent communication to customers is the very least that should be provided to give necessary assurances to paying customers. Such communication is crucial for reassuring customers that orders will be completed in times of disruption – the performance of brands after a purchase is made is the point at which brands win or lose customer loyalty.