Retailers and brands cannot afford to become complacent about the strategic role that delivery plays in their e-commerce strategies according to new research. Half of all shoppers will abandon online shopping baskets if delivery choices on offer are unsatisfactory and 60% will buy their goods from one online retailer over another if they offer more convenient delivery options.
This stark message to retailers comes with the launch of the new MetaPack 2017 State of eCommerce Delivery Consumer Research Report which demonstrates clearly that when it comes to winning and keeping customers, delivery has the power to make or break the online shopping experience.
- 54% of consumers say delivery defines who they always shop with
- 39% will never shop again with an online merchant following a negative delivery experience
- 43% have used social media platforms to voice their displeasure at a poor delivery experience and amongst 18-26 year olds, this figure rises to a huge 48%
- 54% say they want eCommerce sites to offer a one-hour delivery in metropolitan areas.
The research, which was carried out in August amongst 3577 consumers in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and the US, asked respondents for their views on a wide range of topics from try-before-you-buy through to loyalty programmes.
With Brexit looming over UK retailers and brands, merchants can take heart from the sentiments expressed by US and European consumers. They indicated that it would be ‘shopping as usual’ from the UK once it exits the European Union with 58% saying it would make no difference to their shopping behaviours. French (67%), Dutch (65%) and Italian (62%) shoppers were most likely to keep buying goods – but even 54% of German and 48% of Spanish shoppers said they’d keep buying British. Just over a quarter (27%) of US shoppers said that post Brexit, they’ll be buying even more goods from the UK.
“This is the first time that we have been able to address the topic of the UK leaving the EU with such a large number of overseas consumers and it is heartening to see the sentiments expressed,” commented Bruce Fair, Chief Revenue Officer at MetaPack. “However, when we asked what the deterrents would be to purchasing from the UK, we found that over three quarters (77%) of shoppers said if goods became more expensive than those they could purchase locally and 63% said if delivery costs increased.”
Those UK retailers eyeing the US market need to be aware of, and accommodate, the very particular delivery expectations of US customers. Three quarters (75%) of US shoppers, for example, prioritise purchasing from retailers that offer a delivery loyalty programme – compared to 44% in the UK, and 63% of US shoppers want the freedom to choose which carrier delivers their online orders – but this appeals to only 25% of UK shoppers.
Demand for try-before-you-buy is set to surge
Consumers have come to expect more and more from their online buying experience and the ‘try-before-you-buy’ proposition plays well to their general desire for greater convenience and shopping ease.
- 57% would be likely/very likely to use a try-before-you-buy service – with US (67%) and Spanish (63%) shoppers particularly excited by this option
- While an unsurprising 59% of millennial shoppers were eager to take advantage of try-before-you-buy, 47% of silver surfers (those aged 50 and above) were also keen to get in on the act
The appeal of delivery loyalty programmes is strong
Consumers say they shop more with e-tailers that offer delivery loyalty programmes – and almost a third are prepared to pay an annual fee for premium benefits that eliminate the need to factor in, or worry about, the delivery cost of their purchases:
- 42% say loyalty schemes make them feel special
- 31% would pay a monthly fee to get unlimited next-day deliveries
- 55% would prioritise one e-tailer over another if it offered a delivery loyalty programme; this was particularly the case for US (75%), Spanish (71%) and Italian (59%) shoppers
- The consolidated delivery model was also a popular idea with US (84%), Spanish (81%), Italian (73%), French (71%) and UK (65%) shoppers
The need for speed
With next-day and same-day delivery now an established practice, consumer hunger for ever faster delivery options continues unabated.
- Asked to evaluate their most important delivery considerations for online purchases, more than half (52%) ranked fast delivery as their top or second most important priority – up from 30% of last year’s respondents.
- Demand for one-hour delivery service in metropolitan areas was also on the up, with more than half (54%) of all respondents saying they want the online commerce sites they shop with to offer this service.
- Ultra-fast delivery holds a particularly strong appeal for millennial shoppers (66%) and those aged 27-38 (68%). Similarly, the ability to take advantage of a one-hour delivery service was a particularly attractive proposition for 85% of Spanish and 70% of US shoppers. It held least appeal for Dutch shoppers (24%).
- Consumer hunger for a premium ‘same day’ service is growing. This year, demand for a premium ‘same day’ service almost doubled in all countries surveyed. It was particularly appealing to Italian (33%), UK (28%) and US (22%) consumers, with 22% of all respondents taking advantage of a same day delivery option in the last six months.
Personalisation is rising up the agenda
Last year personalisation was ranked as an important delivery consideration by just 2% of shoppers. Fast forward to 2017 and 15% now say they expect online providers to know who they are, and to schedule delivery in line with their usual or preferred arrangements.
Moreover, the ability to select which carrier delivers their online purchase is becoming a top control consideration for a growing number of online shoppers:
- 42% of all respondents said this was important to them
- 63% of all US respondents said this option was important to them – and for 32% of these it was vital
- 38% of millennials (18-26) wanted this facility
- 55% of those aged 27-38 indicated this was a priority for them – and of this number, 20% said it was essential they were able to select who made their delivery
Cross border shopping is on the up
- Over one-fifth (21%) of this year’s survey respondents had made at least one overseas purchase in the last 12 months, with one-third (33%) saying they had purchased goods between two and five times
- A determined 16% had made up to 10 purchases, or more, cross-border purchases – that’s getting on for one order a month.
- US shoppers, in particular, demonstrated a growing inclination to shop beyond borders; 33% had made between 2-5 overseas purchases (up from 24% last year) with a further 23% admitting to at least one international shopping foray.
Delivery preferences differ: distinct market nuances prevail
eCommerce market maturity and local cultural preferences mean consumers in different geographies favour different delivery offerings:
- Click and collect in-store topped the list for UK (68%) consumers, while delivery to a local shop or pick up point was a popular choice for 76% of French shoppers
- Delivery to a locker was most popular with 31% of German shoppers
- 20% of all respondents had opted for the convenience of having online orders delivered to their place of work – with Italian (25%) and UK (23%) shoppers most likely to elect for a workplace delivery
- Weekend delivery services were appealing to 34% of UK and US shoppers alike, but proved less attractive for French (13%) and Italian (14%) consumers
- Consumer demand for a one-hour delivery service in metropolitan areas is high, especially for 76% of Spanish shoppers who said the availability of this option would strongly incentivise them to shop with an online merchant