Retailers often go all out when it comes to the holidays, making an extra effort to offer the best prices and delivery options. While prices normally return to normal after the new year, consumer expectations may be changed forever. A recent study found that this is the case for shipping and delivery options. An Arvato survey found that delivery speed and cost are critical factors in convincing consumer to make a purchase.
Original research by Arvato based on a survey of 2,000 US shoppers found that the majority of respondents (83 percent) said free delivery was the most important factor when it comes to fulfillment of online orders, followed by speed of delivery (53 percent) and free returns (52 percent).
“Delivery isn’t just about fulfillment but an integral part of the decision-making process for the online shopper. Those retailers who are not offering a fast, convenient and, crucially, free delivery service are at risk of losing out. With retailers having to balance the rising cost of fulfillment against the cost of losing an order, there is no easy answer, however one thing all retailers can do is to be transparent, giving customers an estimated delivery cost from the outset to avoid frustration at the end of the shopping journey,” explained Ferka Vukel, the Director of Fashion and Cosmetics at Arvato.
The notion that delivery speed can affect sales in nothing new, but the Arvato study goes a step beyond by examining the specific situations where delivery options led to cart abandonment and lost sales. According to the survey, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of shoppers saying they had cancelled an order because of slow delivery speeds, while a little over one in four (26 percent) said that the product had been out of stock and, with no indication of when it would be available, they decided not to proceed with their purchase or shop with another retailer.
The survey also offered valuable advice on the best way to keep customers happy with delivery options. They found that four out of nine (45 percent) said that convenience was the most important factor in delivery, with 17 percent saying they liked to be offered multiple delivery options.
More than half (56%) of US shoppers already use the ‘buy online pick-up instore’ (BOPIS) option, but while only 11% currently use two hour BOPIS options offered by retailers, about a third (32%) said they would like to see more retailers offering one or two hour collection spots for BOPIS purchases going forward.
During the holidays, many retailers offered free or reduced shipping as well as other options for delivery. Business owners should try their best to continue options. Some customer prefer free shipping, others want to pay more to get it as quickly as possible. By having multiple options, retailers can do their best to please everyone.
For more information about the value of free shipping, read this article on our site about a similar survey from years ago.