Today’s sophisticated cyber shoppers continue to transform the retail landscape. Demanding innovation and excellence in every channel, they expect to take control of their online retail experience — and that includes where, when and how delivery happens. In fact, according to MetaPack's 2017 State of eCommerce Delivery Consumer Research Report, which collates the views of more than 3,500 online shoppers in the U.S. and Europe, half will abandon online shopping carts if delivery choices are unsatisfactory, and 60 percent will buy their goods from one online retailer over another if the former retailer offers more convenient delivery options. So, what is it that today’s consumers are looking for when it comes to the delivery of their online purchases? Here are some of our findings.
Retailers Must Get Delivery Right: 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, over half of respondents (52 percent) ranked fast delivery as their top or second most important priority, up from 30 percent last year.
This year, demand for a premium “same day” service almost doubled in all countries surveyed. It was particularly appealing to 22 percent of U.S. consumers. Retailers failing to offer this option could face devastating consequences as 27 percent of U.S. shoppers said they had abandoned an online retailer’s website because same-day delivery wasn’t available, up from just 10 percent last year.
Personalization is Rising Up the Agenda
Last year, personalization was ranked as an important delivery consideration by just 2 percent of shoppers. Fast-forward to 2017, and 15 percent say they expect online providers to know who they are and schedule deliveries in line with their usual or preferred arrangements. With 25 percent of shoppers stating that they had bailed on completing an order because a nominated-day service wasn't on the menu, the impact for retailers is evident.
Moreover, the ability to select which carrier delivers their online purchase is becoming a top control consideration. Sixty-three percent of all U.S. respondents said this option was important to them — 32 percent of these stating it was vital — with 28 percent of U.S. consumers confessing to having abandoned an online purchase because the carrier used by the e-commerce provider was one that had let them down in the past.
The Appeal of Delivery Loyalty Programs is Strong
Consumers say they shop more with e-tailers that offer delivery loyalty programs. Furthermore, 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. With 42 percent of all respondents saying that loyalty schemes make them feel special, in the U.S., 75 percent of shoppers would go so far as to prioritize one e-tailer over another if it offered a delivery loyalty program.
What Does This Mean for Retailers?
Retailers must get delivery right. As online retailers compete for the hearts and wallets of a growing legion of consumers, the pressure is on to get last-mile capabilities right or suffer the consequences. When delivery expectations aren’t met, today’s online shoppers are unforgiving and won’t hesitate to purchase elsewhere. When it comes to winning and keeping customers — now more than ever — delivery has the power to make or break the online shopping experience.
Michael Manlapas is the U.S. vice president and general manager of MetaPack, a SaaS e-commerce delivery management platform.
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Michael Manlapas is U.S. vice president and general manager of MetaPack. With 20 years of experience with enterprise software focused on retail operation, his responsibilities at MetaPack include overseeing the staff and day-to-day functions of the organization in the U.S.