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Consumers stress the growing importance of good delivery and returns experiences


Delivery and returns options and experiences are affecting customer buying decisions more than ever, according to the MetaPack 2016 State of Ecommerce Delivery Consumer research report.
The latest research shows that customers are increasingly sensitive to a good delivery experience. The research, which polled consumers who had made online purchases within the last six months in the US and the six largest ecommerce markets by revenue in Europe, found that 43% of consumers said that following a negative delivery experience they wouldn’t return to that retailer within a month whilst 38% said they would abandon that retailer entirely in the future.

Unsatisfactory delivery options not good enough

But it’s not just the reality of the experience that is putting customers off. The research showed that 45% of customers had abandoned a basket online because they had been faced with unsatisfactory or unavailable delivery options. This included slow speed of delivery or lack of flexibility as top reasons.

The importance of delivery options is further highlighted by the fact that the majority of customers (61%) said that they had chosen one online retailer over another simply because the delivery choices offered better suited them.

Consumers want flexibility. 46% of respondents said that they wanted to be able to make on the fly changes to their delivery after placing an order online.

But they also want speed. In metropolitan areas, nearly half (47%) of respondents said that they wanted a one-hour delivery service whilst demand for a premium same day service almost doubled in all the countries surveyed with 22% of all respondents using a same day delivery option in the last six months.

Returns remain key battleground

Once again this is another study to show the increasing importance of returns – and how consumers are increasingly taking returns policies into account now too in their purchasing decisions. Nearly half (49%) said they had been put off making a purchase by an online retailer’s returns policy and 43% said they were frustrated by trying to find out information about the returns process on websites.

Most significant was the poor experience of returns – although 88% said they had used an ecommerce returns facility in the last six months less than a third (28%) said they were completely satisfied with the return services they received.

However, the study also showed the value of getting delivery and returns right with 87% of consumers saying that a positive delivery experience would mean they were happy to shop with that retailer again and 72% saying that they would be more likely to shop online with retailers that made the returns process easier and more transparent.

UK highlights from the report include:

  • 50% of UK respondents ranked free delivery as the most important consideration for the majority of their purchases, amongst the highest of the countries surveyed
  • In the UK 72% will purchase more products or items to take advantage of minimum spend ‘free delivery’ option
  • UK shoppers were amongst the most likely (68%) to shop with a retailer again following a positive delivery experience
  • 39% of UK shoppers, higher than any other country, reported a negative delivery experience with a brand or manufacturer’s website because it was too expensive
  • 68% of UK consumers choose to collect in store, more than any other country surveyed
  • With the exception of Italy more UK consumers (28%) have used same day delivery services than any other country surveyed
  • Post is still popular for returning products amongst UK shoppers with 46% saying it was their favoured method, but 40% prefer a courier pick up and 35% said they liked to drop off at a retailer’s store
  • When it comes to peak sales periods 53% of UK consumers said they did not have different expectations or behaviour and 51% said they would not pay more to guarantee next day delivery or store pick up during peak

Image credit: Fotolia

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