Shopping online for grocery is a regular activity for some. And with Christmas fast approaching, more and more people will turn to the internet for groceries and gifts in a bid to avoid queues and tailbacks.

However, a recent survey for Trimble by market research company OnePoll indicates many online shoppers are often disappointed by a poor delivery service. The nationwide survey of 2,000 consumers suggests some retailers aren’t entirely in touch with customer needs regarding time slots.

Almost half the respondents said delivery time slots were too long, while an alarming seven out of 10 consumers said they would be put off from ordering from retailers that only offer day-long time slots. Four out of 10 people also said they had been disappointed by the delivery services of a number of big names, due to issues such as unpredictable time slots, deliveries not arriving on schedule and rude and unhelpful drivers.

Clearly, many online shoppers have experienced a problem with delivery - and this frustration isn’t helped when they have had to wait in for a delivery to arrive. The danger, of course, is that they will be discouraged from visiting the retailer in the future.

So what can retailers do to ensure deliveries don’t disappoint? The survey shows shoppers want predictable, short and convenient delivery time slots. Retailers offering these, on top of reliability, will reap the rewards. They should be turning to modern field service management solutions, which enable companies to plan deliveries and schedule appointments so they can provide customers with specific time windows.

The evolution of this technology means the planning and in-day management of deliveries is easier than ever, allowing real-time visibility of where and how jobs are being completed.

This means any issues can be immediately resolved and accurate information can be provided to the customer. The UK is Europe’s leading e-retail economy and, with sales estimated to reach €81bn this year, can any retailer afford to let its customers down?