The research suggests that consumers’ online purchasing decisions are directly influenced by their delivery and returns – and they “will vote with their feet and their wallets, abandoning shopping baskets if the delivery experience doesn’t meet their expectations, needs or is too expensive”.
Conducted in the US and the six largest European e-commerce markets (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands), the research polled opinion from consumers who had made online purchases within the last six months.
More than four in ten (43%) of consumers said that, following a negative delivery experience, they wouldn’t return to that retailer within a month; and 38% said they are likely to never shop with that retailer ever again. Furthermore, 45% said they have abandoned a basket on a retailer or brand/manufacturer’s e-commerce website because of unsatisfactory or unavailable delivery options.
“This year’s research results underline the increasingly vital role of delivery as part of an e-commerce strategy,” said Kees de Vos, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, MetaPack. “With consumers’ appetite for perfection continuing to rise, they now view delivery as a core component of an online merchant’s shopping proposition – for them, delivery is a lasting ‘moment of truth’ that ultimately characterises their end-to-end online shopping experience and underpins their purchasing decisions and loyalty.”
MetaPack said the 2016 report revealed some “striking” differences between the delivery expectations of consumers and their reality when shopping online. To give an example: while 88% of respondents had utilised an e-commerce returns facility in the past six months, only 28% were completely satisfied with the return services they encountered.
The report found that there was strong interest (47%) among metropolitan respondents for a one-hour delivery service for their online purchases.
Demand for a premium ‘same day’ service has also been growing, and it has proved particularly appealing to Italian (33%), UK (28%) and US (22%) consumers.
Shoppers also expressed a strong desire for increased delivery flexibility that extends beyond the initial purchase transaction itself; 46% of respondents want the freedom to make ‘on the fly’ changes to their delivery after placing an order online.
The MetaPack report found that “returns represent the next differentiation battleground” – and this is an area where “convenience is everything”.
Online consumers expect to encounter free and easy returns, said MetaPack, adding that 39% of the survey respondents said they always look at a retailer’s returns policy before completing an online purchase, and 72% said they would be more likely to shop with online merchants that made the returns process more transparent and easier to use.
Interestingly, the report found that online marketplaces continue to “set the bar” on consumer delivery expectations in terms of the breadth, speed and flexibility of the delivery options on offer, with Amazon hitting the mark for 56%.
And we will sign off with one last, heartening statistic: almost nine out of ten consumers (87%) said that they would happily shop again with an online merchant following a positive delivery experience.