Those SME retailers upping their delivery game to make their offering stand out – looking at you Amara and Simba – are definitely barking up the right tree. According to new consumer research from Global Freight Solutions (GFS) and IMRG (the UK’s association for online retailers), 45% of consumers are still more likely to abandon their purchase due to a lack of convenient delivery options, not a lack of free options.
The findings come from the IMRG Consumer Delivery Review 2019, an annual survey asking 2,000 UK shoppers 50 questions to understand their perceptions of online delivery and returns. This edition is the 11th in the series, supported by GFS.
The study claims that, overall, ‘fast and free’ is losing its lustre as an incentive to purchase for consumers. 2019 saw an 11% decrease in the number of consumers who said a free delivery offer encouraged them to purchase. Instead, offering a broad choice of delivery options, so that the consumer has greater chance of finding the one that is most convenient to them, continues to be a priority.
Consumers are even less willing to pay for ‘Click and Collect’, with 82% expecting it to be free. However, they are also less fussy about third-party locations, as long as they’re convenient. On average, 70% of consumers consider all types of pre-delivery notifications important, including alerts for failed delivery, advance warning if there is an issue and the expected delivery time slot.
Satisfaction with both delivery and returns has increased slightly on 2018, but the gap between overall satisfaction with delivery compared with overall satisfaction with returns is significant (20%) - this gap has remained consistent since 2015.
As with delivery, convenience in the returns process is also vital to consumers, especially when it comes to communicating receipt of the returned parcel (80% said this was important for a convenient return process).
Environmental concerns are also starting to play on shoppers’ minds, but price is limiting their willingness to change. Over half (55%) of consumers surveyed viewed online shopping as less environmentally friendly than the high street (the first time this has occurred), but when asked if they’d pay extra to do their part, 73% said no.
Neil Cotty, CEO at Global Freight Solutions explains: “Convenience is still a big factor for delivery satisfaction with consumers. But since last year’s report, we’ve seen the satisfaction gap widen between delivery and returns. While retailers have made progress in improving the transparency and convenience of delivery, returns unfortunately seem to have been left behind and should be an important focus going forward.
“While many retailers have been prioritising ‘fast and free’ delivery, convenience is actually the top priority for shoppers. Consumers now expect a high-quality, convenient delivery and returns service that with clear and transparent communication across the entire journey of their parcel. If retailers don’t prioritise this, they run the risk of losing out to competitors.”