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63% of consumers have switched retailers over slow deliveries

360 Magazine 
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63% of consumers have switched retailers over slow deliveries

Brands have 48 hours or less to meet the expectations of impatient shoppers once they place online orders for home delivery, according to research published by OnTrac.

The Vienna, Va.-based parcel carrier commissioned Hanover Research to survey more than 5,000 consumers to produce its white paper, How Retailers Can Use Faster Delivery to Rebuild Brand Loyalty and Meet Consumer Expectations.

While OnTrac found 86 per cent of shoppers felt they should receive packages in no more than two days, 74 per cent preferred next-day delivery. This was followed by same-day delivery at 67 per cent.

The value of speed as part of the customer experience (CX) was underscored by the fact that 58 per cent of consumers said they had paid for fast delivery, which OnTrac said represented an increase of 53 per cent before the pandemic. By the same token, 60 per cent of those surveyed said they would not shop with a retailer that doesn’t offer free shipping.

While delivery is often considered part of the post-purchase phase of the customer journey, 78 per cent said a lack of fast delivery options would lead them to abandon their shopping carts.

“When retailers accelerate how quickly they get items to their customers and offer free shipping, they not only increase profits, but also take a larger share of wallet,” the report’s authors wrote. “As more consumers shop online, retailers that can leverage fast and free delivery will enhance the customer experience and keep consumers coming back.”

360 Magazine Insight

No surprise that a company like OnTrac would want to emphasize the importance of fast delivery, but this research goes beyond looking at the impact on CX in the moment.

For example, 65 per cent of those surveyed said fast delivery would influence their decision to join a loyalty program. That might be higher than the value consumers put on being able to collect points for redemption or the occasional discount code.

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The white paper also argues that, despite its prominence amid COVID-19 restrictions, customers don’t really gravitate to options such as buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS). OnTrac’s data showed 64 per cent of consumers only use BOPIS to avoid paying for shipping, another reason to consider making it free.

If there’s an elephant in the room here, of course, it’s Amazon, which has set the standard for fast, free shipping either on the same day or next day.  The paper might have benefitted by highlighting the effectiveness of the online retailer’s Prime membership model, which deliberately dangles free shipping as a carrot.

This is an important point because most brands don’t have the scale to mimic Amazon Prime. Yet that’s who they’re really competing with in terms of fast delivery.

OnTrac (naturally) recommends diversifying the number and kinds of parcel carriers you use, which is valid. But it may also be important to demonstrate excellence in other aspects of CX if you need three or more business days to get products to customers’ doorsteps. This could include simplifying the way purchases are made, or even providing greater visibility into where packages are in the fulfillment process.

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