From Procurement to Profit

Shoppers Demand Fast, Free Shipping

A survey of 2,000 US online shoppers confirmed what most retailers already suspected: consumers want free and fast delivery of their purchases, and free returns.

The study, sponsored by Arvato SCM solutions, found that 83% of the shoppers surveyed said free delivery was the most important factor when ordering online.

More than half (54%) said they have abandoned online shopping baskets because of delivery costs.

A quarter (24%) of the consumers said they have cancelled orders because delivery wasn’t fast enough for their needs, and a similar portion (26%) discarded an order they were placing because an item was out of stock with no indication of when it would be available.

When it comes to fulfillment, 45% said convenience was the most important factor, with 17% saying they liked to be offered multiple delivery options.

More than half (56%) are already using a ‘buy online pick-up instore’ (BOPIS) option, and, 32% said they would like to see more retailers offering one- or two-hour BOPIS service for their future purchases.

Ferka Vukel, Director Fashion and Cosmetics at Arvato SCM Solutions, said, “Retailers who are not offering a fast, convenient and, crucially, free delivery service are at risk of losing out.”

Retailers having to balance the cost of fulfillment against the cost of losing an order, which often is not easy, she acknowledged.

When free delivery is not cost-effective, giving customers an estimate of delivery cost at the outset can avoid them abandoning their purchase later.

The importance of delivery cost and speed is likely to become even more significant to buyer behavior in the future, Ms. Vukel said.

“Our research shows that within five years, shoppers expect retailers to offer up increasingly innovative delivery solutions,” she said, such as using driverless vehicles or drones, and 17% want orders from multiple retailers to arrive in one delivery.

“At the moment innovations such as drone delivery are more about capturing consumers imagination than reality,” she said, but the demand for speed, low cost and convenience will likely increase.

The survey of 2,000 US adults was conducted for Arvato by OnePoll in October of 2017.

Arvato SCM Solutions, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, is a leading service provider in the field of supply chain management and e-commerce, with 14,000 employees providing omnichannel logistics services through 63 distribution hubs in the US, Europe, Russia and Asia.

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