The eCommerce retail space has come a long way in recent years. Just a few years ago, delivery expectations were low - customers expected to wait up to 10 days to have an item delivered. But slowly, expectations started changing. First, standard delivery options shortened to 3-4 days; then, expedited 2-day or next-day shipping raised the bar. Today, online shoppers want fast, cheap (or free) shipping options. This growing demand in customer delivery expectations has increased competition in the eCommerce space as retailers try to find expedited shipping at low cost.
Amazon is leading the pack with multiple free expedited shipping options for Amazon Prime customers. This has left other retailers with no choice but to look for faster and cost-effective eCommerce shipping solutions to navigate the fierce competition and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to managing customer expectations.
If you find yourself wondering how to offer your customers more competitive shipping, Easyship can help you find better eCommerce delivery solutions. We can give you access to specially-negotiated rates and over 250 courier services that will help you meet customer delivery expectations without negatively impacting your bottom line.
In this article, we'll look at how consumer delivery expectations in eCommerce are changing, the benefits and challenges of these expectations for retailers, and some ways retailers can manage these.
Growing Consumer Expectations in eCommerce
Consumer delivery expectations for eCommerce are changing quickly and becoming more demanding by the day. One reason for this is the increasing competition in the eCommerce retail space. For eCommerce retailers, it’s crucial to understand how managing customer expectations can help your business.
Companies like Amazon continue to push the envelope with competitive faster delivery timelines. Today, Amazon offers free same-day delivery, next-day delivery, and 2-day delivery with their Prime membership. Now, customers have come to expect the same from other retailers, who have no choice but to implement similar systems if they want to stay competitive.
61% of shoppers want their items delivered within three hours of making an online purchase, while 80% of buyers want same-day shipping. 17% of online shoppers say they will abandon a brand due to shipping delays. These statistics highlight the need for retailers to offer expedited eCommerce shipping solutions to acquire or retain customers.
Another reason behind the change in consumer delivery expectations is the demand for free shipping. 61.8% of buyers consider shipping cost above all other factors, while 73% of customers have decided not to make a purchase due to delivery costs. This points to the fact that consumers have come to expect faster deliveries at no extra cost.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected eCommerce shipping options, leading to yet more changes in consumer delivery expectations. With more people locked down in their homes, customers are increasingly going online to get the things they need, resulting in an increase in online shopping and eCommerce home deliveries.
There is also a change in consumer delivery expectations when it comes to the level of control over deliveries. Nine in ten customers want the ability to correct a wrong address, which is still difficult for most retailers. 53.2% of buyers want the ability to reroute a package in transit, either to be picked up in-store or to a different address.
The Benefits & Challenges of Deliveries for Online Retailers
Giving customers more control over the delivery process comes with several benefits to retailers, most significantly, the better managing of customer expectations. But, of course, it also has its fair share of challenges. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to implement a more customer-driven delivery process:
Advantages to Retailers
- Brand loyalty: Many consumers will abandon a brand if they have to wait a long time for deliveries. Faster, low-cost shipping will mean more repeat customers.
- Lower cart abandonment: 73% of buyers have abandoned a cart because they had to pay a delivery charge. Offering free or low-cost shipping will help retailers realize higher conversion rates.
- Improved upselling: Giving buyers more control over their delivery timings means that they will be more likely to shop online, helping retailers increase conversions and sales.
- Stay ahead of the competition: A retailer providing faster delivery and multiple shipping options at low cost has a real chance to stand out from the competition.
- Better delivery experiences: Giving customers more control over deliveries, like the ability to correct a wrong address or reroute a package to a more convenient address, will decrease instances of failed delivery attempts and improve the overall delivery experience.
Disadvantages to Retailers
- Supply chain challenges: In an attempt to meet consumer delivery expectations, retailers have to endure the vagaries of traffic issues, third party couriers, and bad weather. All these make it harder for them to deliver on time, and there’s often not much you can do to mitigate this.
- High cost for retailers: Faster shipping for online retailers comes at an extra cost. Most customers have come to expect expedited deliveries but are not willing to pay more for this. That means retailers may have to grapple with lower profit margins to meet consumer delivery expectations.
- Negative impact on businesses: After a negative delivery experience, 83.5% of customers say they won’t shop with a retailer again. That means late or slow deliveries will hurt retailers because they’re unable to keep up with consumer delivery expectations.
- Hard to deliver during peak seasons: eCommerce retailers experience order spikes and logistics challenges during holidays or uncertain times like the current COVID-19 pandemic, making it hard to deliver on their promise for faster shipping.
- Potentially more inconveniences: Giving customers more control like the liberty to reroute packages in transit can lead to more delays and inconveniences for retailers.
10 Ways to Manage Customer’s Shipping Expectations
There are several measures that retailers can put in place to manage consumer delivery expectations and give them a certain degree of control over the delivery process. Here’s a rundown of ten ways you can do exactly that.
1. Offer multiple shipping options
One way to manage your consumer delivery expectations is to offer multiple shipping options such as same-day, next-day, two-day, and standard shipping. This gives them more control over the delivery speed and price at which they want their packages delivered.
2. Offer free shipping
You can manage your consumer delivery expectations by offering free shipping over a certain spend. Your buyers will not expect very speedy deliveries with free shipping; they will likely be willing to wait for an extra day or two to receive their package. Though this is an expensive tactic, you can build part of the shipping cost into your selling prices to mitigate it.
3. Take advantage of delivery incentives
Using time and price delivery incentives is another excellent way to manage consumer delivery expectations, especially during the holidays. An example of a time-sensitive incentive might be something like, “Order by December 19th to receive your package before Christmas." A popular example of a price incentive is "Free shipping for purchases above $100." This will help give your buyers a semblance of control while managing their expectations.
4. Show delivery dates
For the sake of your customers’ convenience, you should display delivery timelines and prices at checkout so they can choose the most appropriate shipping option. This will help then know what to expect before they make the purchase. Easyship can help you do this with its “Rates at Checkout” feature.
5. Share tracking information with your customers
Another way to manage consumer delivery expectations is to share tracking information through automated messages; they can see where their package is and when it will be arriving. This will help mitigate any anxiety on the customer’s side and reduce pressure on your customer service team. Easyship offers branded automated tracking so your customer can continue to get your brand experience while waiting for their orders.
6. Ship from multiple locations
When you partner with wholesalers or warehouses in strategic locations, you can ensure that your orders don’t have to travel as far to reach customers around the world. This not only lowers your shipping costs but also guarantees faster delivery times. Easyship offers our clients warehousing in different parts of the world so that you can easily build a global brand and easily send orders to customers in different countries.
7. Display cut-off times
Displaying cut-off time for each shipping option is a great way to manage consumer delivery expectations. Let your buyers know the latest they can make orders to get faster delivery times for same-day, next-day, or overnight shipping.
8. Communicate with your buyers
Delivery issues are inevitable, but with excellent communication, you can manage your buyers' frustrations. Be proactive and communicate clearly with your buyers. Let them know what is happening and what efforts you’re making to resolve the problem before they notice it themselves.
9. Take charge
Though it may be your couriers' fault, your customers will always hold you accountable for any delivery issues because they bought the product from you. You should take responsibility and resolve any problems with the courier as soon as you’re aware of them. Never leave your buyers to chase their order up or incur extra costs when you or your courier have made a mistake.
10. Streamline the shipping process
A big part of managing consumer delivery expectations involves streamlining your shipping process to avoid delays and ensure faster delivery. Integrating data with your shipping partners, improving your order processing systems, and having active customer support are some of the things you can do to meet your buyers' expectations. Easyship can also assist with this with a range of useful automations such as pre-filled customs documentation and automatically generated shipping labels.
Keep Your Customers Happy with Better Deliveries
The eCommerce retail space is now well established and more customers are finding it increasingly convenient to shop online. That means consumer delivery expectations for faster shipping at no extra costs, along with the need for delivery flexibility, will only continue to grow.
By taking the above proactive steps to enhance consumer delivery expectations, you’ll be able to effectively manage customer expectations and keep them happy. Don’t forget that Easyship can help - reach out to our support team and sign up for a free account now!