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UK shoppers reject Amazon’s idea of ‘anticipatory shopping’

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Will UK shoppers welcome Amazon’s anticipatory shipping, a solution patented in the US and which would see goods sent to customers before they decide to buy?

According to new research from Venda , the answer is a resounding no – or at least, not yet.

The end-to-end ecommerce provider asked 2,052 British shoppers what their reaction would be if they were sent goods that it thought they might want, with the option of buying or returning them. Details of how the service would work are still unclear, but that automated decision might be triggered if a shopper had put something in their shopping basket online or if they had browsed the item, or even bought something similar previously.

More than half (55%) of respondents said they would be annoyed and would return items they had received but not bought, while more than a third (37%) said they would see the predictive delivery as an invasion of their privacy. The same percentage said they would not keep the products delivered because it would set a negative precedent. Some 39% said the move would simply be a money-making ploy, something felt more strongly by women (43%) than men (36%).

However, 26% said they would abandon an online purchase if it would take too long to delivery, and almost a quarter said they would be more likely to buy from a retailer offering same-day delivery.

Eric Abensur, group chief executive of Venda, said: “Although we are yet to see exactly how anticipatory shipping will be employed, if Amazon starts sending goods to customers without their consent, they risk alienating the vast majority of shoppers.

“Privacy is still a huge issue for consumers, and from their perspective, the idea of having every move they make put under the microscope can be disconcerting. Amazon and other retailers need to tread the fine line between offering customers a personalised online service, while cutting down fulfilment times, but at the same time, they need to reassure consumers that their data is safe and not being misused for revenue-generating activities.”

However, 12% did say they would keep something they’d received but not ordered, as long as it was something they already planned to buy, while 9% would keep something if it was relevant to them, while another 9% said they’d keep it if it was cheaper than they could buy online or in-store.

“Amazon is certainly making a bold and possibly unpopular move, but it is one which may pay dividends in the future, thanks to the rise of the ‘I want it now’ consumer,” said Abensur. “Given that pace and cost of delivery is a prevalent concern for online shoppers, it’s not surprising that Amazon are looking at new innovative strategies to solve this issue. However, fulfilment is something other online retailers should also put at the heart of their eCommerce strategy this year – as without a fast and efficient way to get products to consumers they could end up losing revenue.”

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