APS Fulfillment, Inc. (www.APSFulfillment.com), one of the nation’s leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, is weighing in on why poor fulfillment services were responsible, in part, for sending the American Customer Satisfaction Index to a 12-year low.

After three years of incremental growth, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (a measure of satisfaction with online shopping) plunged 4.9% to a reading of 78, the lowest level since 2001. The sharp decline in the online satisfaction index can be partly attributed to the cold weather and a surge in last-minute sales before the holidays in December. Both of these factors left many online shoppers frustrated when shipments failed to arrive on time. (Source: theacsi.org study, “ACSI Retail Report 2013,” February 19, 2014; www.theacsi.org/news-and-resources/customer-satisfaction-reports/customer-satisfaction-reports-2013/acsi-retail-report-2013/acsi-retail-report-2013-download.)

“While online stores are doing what they need to do to make the experience more attractive, including easier checkouts and more product selection, it seems that actually getting paid-for products into consumers’ hands is striking the wrong chord,” says Charles Aultman, president of APS Fulfillment, Inc.

Aultman explains that, in an effort to appease customers this past December, some retailers resorted to refunding shipping costs and offering gift cards. Nice gestures, but it’s reactive, he says. Aultman maintains that today’s retailers need to be proactive and use fulfillment companies that can deliver on their shipping promises.

“The fact of the matter is, once consumers buy their product online, even if it was a great deal, all they care about at that point is getting what they ordered and receiving it when promised. Failing to deliver on either expectation can permanently damage a brand’s reputation,” Aultman adds.

To succeed, brands need to exceed their customers’ expectations. One of the best ways to do this, according to Aultman, is using a fulfillment company that is conveniently located to all transportation hubs, uses the most advanced internal shipping systems, and has a stellar packing accuracy rate.

“Unfortunately, the most recent data shows this isn’t happening. In fact, consumers haven’t been this disappointed with their online shopping experience in 12 years—that goes back to the infancy of online shopping. Brands that want to excel need to ensure their fulfillment company of choice has a proper internal warehousing infrastructure. Their customers and their survival depend on it,” Aultman concludes.

APS Fulfillment, Inc. is one of the United States’ leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, offering affordable and real-time fulfillment services to small, medium, and large companies. Its state-of-the-art technology provides turnkey solutions for high-volume perfect-match mailings, personalized direct mail, snap-pak mailers, postcards, and triple-tabbed booklets. More information on APS Fulfillment, Inc. is available by visiting the firm’s web site at www.APSFulfillment.com or by calling 954-582-7450.