Most Shoppers Say Poor Shipping Options Derail Ecommerce Orders

While the relationship between shipping options and ecommerce shopping cart conversion or abandonment is well established, the extent of the impact is shown in stark detail in a new report from ecommerce platform provider BigCommerce.

More than two-thirds of the 3,000 respondents to a BigCommerce survey (77%) said they’ve abandoned an online purchase based on dissatisfaction with the shipping options. Perhaps just as troubling, 58% said they’ve stopped shopping with a particular retailer based on a negative shipping experience.

“Retailers need to take into account a number of critical factors to make a meaningful difference in ecommerce shipping, and finally bring it to a level playing field with the rest of the ecommerce experience,” said Jimmy Duvall, chief product officer at BigCommerce in a release.

The survey polled 2,933 consumers aged 18 and over in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States between April 25-28, 2019. A separate survey of 776 BigCommerce merchants, mostly in the small-to-medium category, was conducted between April 20-May 10, 2019.

There’s no such thing as free shipping if you’re the shipper, of course, but nevertheless more and more consumers are expecting it, thanks to Amazon Prime and its many imitators. Most of the survey respondents (84%) said they made a purchase in the past year specifically because of a free shipping offer, while 50% said they avoid retailers that don’t offer it.

While free shipping comes at a cost for the merchant, there are obvious benefits of doing so. Eighty-four percent of consumers responding to the survey said they’ve added items to their cart over the past 12 months in order to meet a free shipping threshold. That figure jumps to 90% for millennials, one-third of whom said they do it all the time, and 85% for Gen Z shoppers.

Surprisingly, nearly half of merchant respondents (47%) said they didn’t know their cart abandonment rate, or how much of it was caused by a lack of shipping options. Only 13% of them offer free shipping across the board, while 39% set free shipping order thresholds.

While the merchant survey was conducted before Amazon announced it was reducing the Prime delivery promise from two days to one day shipping, over two-thirds of respondents (68%) said Amazon’s shipping practices put unfair pressure on independent retailers. Four-fifths of the merchants surveyed handle their own order fulfillment.

More consumers are green these days in terms of environmental consciousness, but some it appears have taken on a lighter shade, according to the BigCommerce study. Sixty percent of consumer respondents said they “often or always” recycle their ecommerce packaging, and about a third of them are willing to go to a store for an order pickup. But 29% of them said they have no interest in making any changes to the shipping process to lessen the carbon footprint.

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