The world of retail has drastically changed over the past five years. While price still remains the most important to online shoppers, they are also now looking beyond costs when it comes to their purchasing decisions. Customer delivery expectations have surged, increasing year-over-year. The need for speed – precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic – has pushed retailers to not only adapt to shifts in shopping platforms but also keep up with the rising customer demands surrounding speed and convenience.
How exactly does the speed of customer delivery impact businesses? And where do customer expectations now lie in terms of delivery speed? Recent studies have shown:
- Nearly 50% customers will shop elsewhere if delivery times are too long
- 1 in 2 shoppers will abandon their cart if their expectations for delivery dates aren’t met
- 1 in 5 customers will pay a marginal increase in shipping fees for faster shipping than standard shipping
- 7 out of 10 online shoppers would be less likely to shop with a retailer after uninformed or unexplained package delays
- 7 out of 10 customers will choose an online store where more convenient shipping options are offered
- More than 90% of online shoppers expect free two- to three-day shipping
The race to fulfill customer expectations of fast delivery times is on. And for retail and direct-to-consumer brands, speed can make or break their growth and business. But with the challenge of high and rising costs of improving delivery speeds while maintaining profits, online retailers are now faced with: Should they continue to build, should they outsource fulfillment, or should they use technology to enable a productive supply chain?
Take a look at these two major trends shaping online shopper expectations towards speed and delivery.
Transparency and Real-Time Delivery Tracking Boosts Consumer Confidence
For the online shoppers of today, transparency of delivery and tracking builds their trust in a brand. Online shoppers want to know where their orders are, when they’re going to get it and how long it will take before it gets to them. The estimated delivery date is a crucial and decisive part of the delivery experience.
Survey shows that over 80% of shoppers want to have a guaranteed delivery date for their e-commerce orders. And when there is an uninformed or unexplained delay with their orders, 70% of shoppers are less likely to shop with the same retailer again. More so, over 50% of shoppers abandon their cart if they see that their delivery expectations won’t be met.
Accuracy in estimating delivery dates has become critical in shaping the customer journey and experience. A whopping 97.8% of online shoppers believe that it’s important to indicate the expected date of delivery of their packages – demonstrating their desire for brands to make clear commitments to servicing them and fulfilling this promise. In a recent survey, it was found that 7 out of 10 online shoppers share that seeing an estimated delivery date on the product page or in the cart page positively influences their purchasing decision.
However, for brands, delays and hiccups in the fulfillment process are inevitable. Retailers must keep in mind that customers find that unexplained delays feel longer. Hence, transparency must be maintained all throughout the customer journey – contacting customers not only when their orders are on track to be delivered, but most especially when unprecedented issues arise. Online shoppers would rather stay informed and be able to manage their expectations as opposed to being left in the dark as to where their package is.
The clear demand for a new level of transparency allows brands to build customer loyalty and trust. At the same time, this opportunity to build stronger relationships with customers call brands to manage fulfillment and logistics operations that are equally efficient and speedy. By providing a reliable end-to-end customer shopping experience, retailers can increase and sustain customer confidence.
The Gold Standard for Delivery is 2 Days
Amazon – one of the largest retailers in the world – has undeniably set the gold standard for delivery in the e-commerce world. Amazon Prime, which was launched in 2005, promised online shoppers their orders – regardless of whether the products came from overseas or locally – to be delivered within 48 hours. At present, over 100 million users worldwide use this service which has influenced them to have similar expectations of shipping speeds for other online stores.
Research shows that only 33% of shoppers who opt for fast shipping are willing to wait more than three days for their orders to arrive. If brands do not offer a wider variety of delivery options, they risk losing out nearly 7 out of 10 customers.
Currently, top retailers fulfill customer orders in just 1.8 days on average, according to RetailDive. This shows that leading brands have prioritized fulfillment and logistics as a competitive edge to attract and retain customers.
In the world of e-commerce, change remains constant. As shown in the past few years, online retail can turn upside down overnight. How long are customers really willing to wait for their order? For now, studies have shown that it is somewhere between 1 to 3 days. But for brands to grow and stay competitive, it is important to not only keep up with the current customer expectations but to also anticipate the future expectations.
Top retailers have turned to fulfillment partners to manage their logistics operations in order to keep up with ever-changing customer demands for delivery. By outsourcing their fulfillment to industry experts, brands gain access to a wide variety of shipping and delivery options which, in turn, they can offer to their customers.