Almost three-quarters of UK shoppers have walked away from an online shop because there wasn't enough choice of delivery options, new research suggests.
Some 73% of 2,000 Britons quizzed by OnePoll Research in a study for delivery company DPD said they had abandoned a purchase at the checkout stage because the delivery options given were too restricted or expensive.
The study also found that 40% of online shoppers complained that there was generally no free delivery option, while 37% criticised retailers who limit delivery options or pre-select expensive options.
Dwain McDonald, chief executive of DPD, said: "Delivery is an integral part of e-retailing – the sale isn't complete until the customer receives their goods. And as our survey shows, the cost and speed of delivery are crucial factors in whether a customer completes a transaction or abandons their shopping cart at the checkout."
Asked which delivery options they would like to be offered, three quarters said they'd like to receive their goods for free. But 26% said they would prefer timed delivery, while 41% asked for a greater range of delivery options.
"Online shopping is the fastest growing retail sector and customers are no longer happy to accept a restricted set of delivery options, they want choice and flexibility in when and how they receive their purchases,” said McDonald.
“So, retailers have to consider how best to provide customers with a set of delivery options which reflect their product offering and reassure the shopper that their goods will be delivered quickly and cost effectively.” He added: "Online cart abandonment costs e-tailers millions of pounds each year in lost sales. Put simply, limited delivery options cost sales."
Richard Wilding, professor of supply chain strategy at Cranfield School of Management, said: "For online retailers, home delivery is now a critically important part of the overall customer experience. Generally the customer does not differentiate between the courier and the company the item was purchased from, therefore a poor experience reflects badly on the retailer. However a good delivery experience can enhance their reputation, gain customer loyalty and increase sales."