Today’s consumers expect online retailers to provide more convenient and more personalised delivery options to accommodate their busy lifestyle needs. According to a new study by Research Now on behalf of MetaPack, consumers will not hesitate to abandon an online purchase if the delivery option they want is not available.

Two-thirds of the 3,000 adults surveyed (66%) confirm they’ve bought goods from one retailer in preference to another because the delivery options on offer were more appealing – with 49% saying they’d been happy to pay more for a better or more convenient delivery option.

“This clearly highlights how eCommerce Directors that continue to focus solely on making changes to front-end website capabilities are missing out on an increasingly obvious and more significant opportunity to drive conversion – providing delivery services that meet each customer’s personal, complex demands,” said Kees de Vos, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, MetaPack.

Today’s consumers will not hesitate to abandon shopping baskets if they encounter unsatisfactory delivery options. Over half (51%) of shoppers confirm they’d failed to complete an online order due to poor delivery options, citing, among other reasons, that delivery could not be guaranteed by a certain date (30%) or would take too long to fulfil (44%).

Furthermore, 76% of shoppers viewed a retailer’s return options before placing an order, with 51% saying they had failed to proceed with a purchase because the returns process offered was not easy or convenient for them.

In terms of what consumers expect from online retailers, 83% say they want delivery options displayed clearly on the product page itself. And when it comes to convenience, 86% of shoppers want fast delivery and 83% say they now expect a guaranteed delivery date. A further 80% go on to say they also expected a dedicated time slot to be given.

The MetaPack ‘Delivering Consumer Choice: 2015 State of eCommerce Delivery’ survey was conducted online with 3,000 respondents across the US, UK, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands to understand consumer demand around delivery. The findings reveal some interesting differences in delivery expectations between European and US consumers.

Delivery preferences vary: Collect in store most popular after home delivery

When it comes to the range of delivery options used, today’s shoppers utilise a range of services in addition to home delivery, which remains universally popular with all consumers; 90% of survey respondents had used this option in the last six months.

Collect in store topped the list of alternatives to home delivery, and is most popular with UK (47%) and US shoppers (33%). Delivery to a local shop or pick-up point was the second most popular choice - especially for 48% of French shoppers - yet just 17% of US consumers chose to use this option.

By contrast, requesting delivery to their place of work is most popular with Spanish (14%) and German consumers (12%) but is least likely to be used by shoppers in France (6%) and the Netherlands (9%). Finally, delivery to a locker, while least popular with most shoppers across Europe and the US, is a preference for 20% of consumers in Germany, who said they have used such a service in the last six months.

The delivery experience impacts consumer loyalty: Spanish shoppers least forgiving

A negative delivery experience can turn shoppers off using a retailer again. Over half of Spanish consumers (51%) would never shop with a retailer again following a poor experience and are the most likely to broadcast their displeasure via social media; 52% of Spanish respondents confirm they’ve used social media to share a less than positive experience.

Similarly, German (49%), UK (49%) and Dutch (47%) shoppers would never use a retailer again following a bad delivery experience; by comparison just 36% of French shoppers and 38% of US consumers would elect to withdraw their loyalty from a retailer.

Consumers track delivery progress: Spanish and US consumers most demanding

Consumers are eager to know the status of their online order, with 88% of all respondents confirming they rely on mail or SMS mobile notifications to check progress. Knowing what’s happening to their order is particularly important for consumers in Spain (92%) the US (91%) and Germany (91%); shoppers in Spain and the US are particularly active in this respect, with 18% and 22% respectively checking their order status four or more times.

What’s most important for shoppers: cost, speed or delivering on-time?

When it comes to delivery priorities, today’s consumers want the ability to ‘personalise’ delivery to meet their specific needs in relation to each purchase they make. So, while fast delivery is a priority for 86% of all respondents, 78% said they would wait longer if the goods they’d purchased were less expensive. Meanwhile, being able to trust a retailer to deliver when they say they will was a key priority for one third (30%) of all respondents.

Low cost delivery is a priority for 49% of UK consumers and 47% of US consumers. While Dutch shoppers are least worried about low cost delivery, fast delivery proved most important; compared to 16% of UK shoppers, 30% of Dutch consumers rated this as most important.

Spanish and Dutch consumers have high expectations that a retailer will honour its delivery promises; 38% of Spanish consumers and 34% of Dutch consumers rated this as most important for the majority of their online purchases.

Future wants and needs: Different delivery methods appeal to consumers around the world

When asked what delivery services they’d most likely use in the future, there was little appetite for a direct delivery service into a shopper’s car boot or trunk; the option was popular with just 7% of US consumers and 8% of French consumers. The much publicised delivery by drone concept garnered a little more enthusiasm, primarily with US (10%) and German (8%) shoppers.

Having goods delivered to a secure box outside their home, however, proved a winning concept for 21% of US shoppers, while delivery to a secure locker was a popular option for German (15%) and Spanish (11%) shoppers. Meanwhile, pick up of a delivery at a train station proved the most appealing for French shoppers (13%).

UK highlights from the report include:

  • 64% of UK respondents said that they had bought goods from one retailer over another because they provided more delivery options
  • 48% have paid more for goods because the delivery options were better or more convenient
  • 62% of UK consumers have not completed an online order because delivery was not free
  • More UK consumers (38%) than any other region surveyed failed to complete an order because in-store pick-up was unavailable
  • Whilst free delivery was important for the vast majority of UK consumer’s purchases (88%), it was lower than any other region surveyed
  • UK consumers (83%), however, are happier than any other region to wait longer for their delivery if the goods are less expensive


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