How Retailers Can Best Meet Consumers’ Ecommerce Delivery Expectations

The ecommerce delivery battleground is increasingly focused on who can best meet growing consumer expectations for shopping experiences that are simple, fast, reliable and – above all – convenient.

It comes as no surprise, then, that customer-centric ecommerce delivery now represents a key differentiation point for retailers looking to win the biggest share of consumer spend. MetaPack recently surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. and Canada to uncover their delivery preferences, and how the options they are offered influence their purchasing decisions.

So how can retailers best satisfy consumers delivery wants? The following are key insights gleaned from the research that retailers can use to drive a positive delivery experience:

Free is Key But They’ll Still Pay for Convenience

Most consumers now expect free delivery for their everyday purchases. 61% of U.S. shoppers and 68% in Canada said it’s the top consideration for the majority of their purchases. However, many are prepared to pay to expedited fees for faster delivery or take advantage of a more convenient delivery option: 81% in the U.S. and 69% in Canada expect to pay extra for a one-hour, same day, next day or Sunday delivery.

Flexibility Drives Satisfaction as Well

Because of shifting life priorities, more consumers desire the freedom to change delivery dates or re-route their ecommerce order. 37% of U.S. consumers and 24% in Canada said they changed delivery preferences “on the fly” after placing their order. Also, 51% in the U.S. and 40% in Canada said they would have taken advantage of this option had it been available.

New Delivery Options are Appealing

Expediency-seeking shoppers are tempted to try out new ecommerce delivery methods. In Canada, 40% of shoppers said they plan to take advantage of a local pickup point, to be able to keep to their daily routine and avoid missing deliveries. Similarly, delivery to a secure box outside their home held a strong appeal for 35% of U.S. respondents, while 30% said they’d be willing to try out emerging technologies like drone, robot and autonomous vehicle deliveries.

Shoppers Care About the Environment

Consumer desire an eco-friendly delivery, with 78% of U.S. consumers and 68% in Canada saying they were conscious of the environmental impact of their ecommerce deliveries. More than half of consumers in both markets said they would always choose a consolidated delivery over multiple individual deliveries from different sellers because it was either more convenient for them and/or greener.

Loyalty Programs Show Strong Appeal

Amazon Prime has proved a powerful engine for sales growth, setting the bar in consumers’ minds in terms of what a great subscription service should deliver. In fact, 82% of U.S. consumers and 72% of those in Canada said they would like ecommerce sellers they use regularly to provide a loyalty program. In addition, 65% in the U.S. and 50% in Canada said they would choose an ecommerce seller offering a loyalty program with preferential member services over one that didn’t. Also, 74% of U.S. consumers and 66% of those in Canada said they’d be interested in a delivery loyalty program where multiple retailers and brands work together to offer a premium service. 

Consumers Desire the Power to Choose

The ability to select a carrier for an ecommerce delivery is becoming a top priority for many North American consumers, with 51% in the U.S. and 45% of Canadian shoppers saying it was either somewhat or very important.

The research demonstrates that consumers expect to encounter a range of delivery options for ecommerce fulfillment, including selecting the time, place and delivery mode that best meets their needs. They desire flexibility, convenience and choice, as well as new and preferential services.

With consumer loyalty increasingly hard to come by and online shopping expectations evolving rapidly, retailers that fail to get the end-to-end ecommerce delivery experience right will have to fight even harder for the loyalty of these well-practiced digital shoppers.

Bruce Fair is Chief Revenue Officer of MetaPack