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Online Shoppers Want More Control Over Deliveries

Expectations are rising, and loyalty is at stake

For digital sales, delivery might not seem as important as the product itself, but many shoppers judge a retailer on its last-mile capabilities. Loyalty can be made or broken based on cost, speed and accuracy of shipping. 

In a new survey by Convey, a delivery experience management provider, 98.1% of US internet users agreed that shipping impacts brand loyalty. And on the flip side, 83.5% said they wouldn't buy from a retailer again after a negative delivery experience. 

Just a few years ago, next- or same-day shipping was nice to have, but only a minority of shoppers expected expedited delivery. This is changing in no small part due to Amazon Prime offering multiple delivery options. Most still choose cost (61.8%) over all other factors, but 9.7% said next- or same-day delivery is the most important factor when choosing shipping, a 59% increase over 2017.  

The number of US digital buyers who use same-day delivery varies by source, from 8% according to Walker Sands, to nearly one-third (31%) in a survey by Dropoff. And product categories like groceries have higher usage than clothing or consumer electronics. But there isn't any question that it has grown in popularity. That Dropoff study found that 17% used same-day delivery last year. 

There has also been a rise in consumers wanting to have more control over deliveries. Nine in 10 expect to be able to intervene after using an incorrect address, despite the fact that most retailers are unable to provide this. More than half (53.2%) expect to be able to reroute a package in transit, whether to a different address or to be picked up in-store, a 66.3% jump from 2017.

Roughly three-fourths (73.2%) want to be given delivery windows rather than just a date. This is important since a majority of buyers (55.2%) need to reschedule a delivery at least 20% of the time. 

This doesn't affect just consumers, it can be costly to retailers, especially for large items like furniture or appliances. According to Convey, three out of 10 large-item shipments take more than one attempt to schedule, and 28% of those scheduled appointments fail, adding more time stored at a destination and extra cost. 

With more consumers comfortable with buying bulky and expensive items, this desire for  delivery flexibility is going to only increase. Retailers shouldn't be caught off guard by shoppers' increasing expectations for speed, flexibility and transparency.