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Retailer delivery strategy can win —or lose — customers

Retailers and brands cannot afford to become complacent about the strategic role that delivery plays in their eCommerce strategies according to new research. Half of all shoppers will abandon online shopping baskets if delivery choices on offer are unsatisfactory and 60 percent 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, and demonstrates clearly that when it comes to winning and keeping customers, delivery has the power to make or break the online shopping experience.

Top findings:

  • 54 percent of consumers say delivery defines who they always shop with;
  • 39 percent will never shop again with an online merchant following a negative delivery experience;
  • 43 percent 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 percent;
  • 54 percent say they want eCommerce sites to offer a one-hour delivery in metropolitan areas.
  • The research, which was carried out in August amongst 3,577 consumers in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and the U.S., asked respondents for their views on a wide range of topics from try-before-you-buy through to loyalty programs.

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. Fifty-seven percent would be likely/very likely to use a try-before-you-buy service — with U.S. (67 percent) and Spanish (63 percent) shoppers particularly excited by this option. While an unsurprising 59 percent of millennial shoppers were eager to take advantage of try-before-you-buy, 47 percent of silver surfers (those aged 50 and above) were also keen to get in on the act.

Consumers say they shop more with e-tailers that offer delivery loyalty programs — 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 percent say loyalty schemes make them feel special;
  • 31 percent would pay a monthly fee to get unlimited next-day deliveries;
  • 55 percent would prioritise one e-tailer over another if it offered a delivery loyalty programme; this was particularly the case for US (75 percent), Spanish (71 percent) and Italian (59 percent) shoppers;
  • The consolidated delivery model was also a popular idea with US (84 percent), Spanish (81 percent), Italian (73 percent), French (71 percent) and UK (65 percent) 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 percent) ranked fast delivery as their top or second most important priority — up from 30 percent of last year's respondents.

Demand for one-hour delivery service in metropolitan areas was also on the up, with more than half (54 percent) 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 percent) and those aged 27-38 (68 percent). Similarly, the ability to take advantage of a one-hour delivery service was a particularly attractive proposition for 85 percent of Spanish and 70 percent of U.S. shoppers. It held least appeal for Dutch shoppers (24 percent).

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 percent), U.K. (28 percent) and U.S. (22 percent) consumers, with 22 percent of all respondents taking advantage of a same day delivery option in the last six months.

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 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 percent of all respondents said this was important to them;
  • 63 percent of all US respondents said this option was important to them — and for 32 percent of these it was vital;
  • 38 percent of millennials (18-26) wanted this facility;
  • 55 percent of those aged 27-38 indicated this was a priority for them - and of this number, 20 percent said it was essential they were able to select who made their delivery.