BigCommerce, has released a new report, Shipping, Delivered: Best Practices & Expectations for 2019. The study examined survey responses of 3,000 digital consumers and 800 online merchants to understand the role that shipping plays in the consumer purchase journey. The report also shows how brands are adjusting operations to meet shifting expectations.
The study concludes that, while eCommerce and shipping have a symbiotic relationship, shipping often becomes an afterthought for online retailers. For customers, however, a brand’s shipping experience can carry just as much weight as the product it sells, or how it is marketed to them. An alarming 77 percent of global survey respondents have abandoned an online purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options. As a result, 58 percent have actually stopped shopping with particular retailers altogether because of a negative shipping experience. This is important for US consumers. They were likely to stop shopping with a retailer due to negative experience (39%). This compared to 38% of Australian consumers and 35% of UK consumers.
“Retailers need to take into account a number of critical factors to make a meaningful difference in ecommerce shipping. Bringing it to a level playing field with the rest of the ecommerce experience,” said Jimmy Duvall, chief product officer at BigCommerce. “This report provides merchants with insight into consumers’ shipping expectations, best practices to create experiences that drive conversion and loyalty.”
In the global report, BigCommerce details key findings, including:
Keeping up with the Amazon’s
The mass adoption of Amazon Prime’s free two-day delivery and similar efforts from retailers like Walmart, have changed consumer expectations. Eighty-four percent of global survey respondents have made a purchase from an online retailer specifically because it offered free shipping. Half of respondents said that they avoid shopping with retailers that do not offer delivery at no-cost.
Turn free shipping into revenue
Free shipping can make online shoppers feel they’re getting a deal – even if it means spending more to get it. In the last 12 months, 84% percent of global consumers have added items to their cart to receive free shipping. From a generational viewpoint, nearly 90 percent of Millennial and 85 percent of Gen Z respondents indicated they have added items to their cart solely to hit a minimum order threshold for free shipping, with about one-third (33 percent) of Millennials admitting to ‘doing this all the time.’
The Amazon Effect
Merchants struggle with consumers’ evolving shipping expectations. Amazon recently announced its rollout of free one-day shipping for Prime members. Sixty-eight percent of surveyed merchants felt that Amazon’s shipping practices put unfair pressure on independent retailers. Keeping pace with Amazon’s shipping speed becomes even more challenging for retailers. Particularly, for the 80% of merchant respondents that handle their own product fulfilment rather than relying on a third-party providers.
A dysfunctional relationship
Consumers care about shipping – so much so that it can make or break their perception of a retailer. But, there’s very little merchant recognition of shipping’s impact on sales. Forty-seven percent of merchant respondents were unaware of their online cart abandonment rate. Furthermore, they didn’t know the percentage of cart abandonment caused by shipping options. Additionally, the survey found that only 13 percent offer free shipping on all purchases. A larger percentage (39 percent) give consumers free shipping on purchases over a designated dollar amount.
Convenience trumps sustainability in shipping
The research suggests consumers were not currently too concerned on the effects ecommerce shipping has on the environment. However, they are open to making changes to ease some of the burden. As long as the change requires very little effort from them. Sixty percent of global consumers already recycle packaging from an online shipment ‘often’ or ‘almost always’. Furthermore, nearly one-third of consumers would be open to driving to a physical store to pick up an online shipment, rather than have it delivered directly to their house. Twenty-nine percent have no interest in making any changes to the shipping process to help offset its environmental carbon footprint.
BigCommerce’s consumer survey was conducted in April 2019 and distributed to online consumers aged at least 18 years old via SurveyMonkey. Responses were collected from 2,933 individuals living in Australia, the United Kingdom or the United States. BigCommerce’s merchant survey was conducted between April 20 – May 10, 2019. It was distributed to BigCommerce merchants through email and their BigCommerce control panel. Responses were collected from 776 BigCommerce merchants that have made at least $1 in sales in the last six months.
Enterprise Times: What this means for business?
Shipping is often seen as a necessary evil in the eCommerce eco-system. It often becomes an afterthought for busy retailers. For customers on the other hand, a brand’s delivery experience can carry just as much weight as the product it sells, or the marketing doing the selling. There’s no surprises with this report. An alarming 77% of global survey respondents have abandoned a purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options. Another 58% have actually stopped shopping with particular retailers as a result of a negative shipping experience.
Online shoppers now have raised expectations regarding their shipping options. They have become acquainted with free two-day delivery options available from Amazon Prime and similar offerings from Walmart and Target.
Despite the pressure many retailers face to achieve revenues, retailers must compete on experience. The user experience concludes the shipping experience – the actual delivery to the door. Retailers have to ensure their shipping partners can maintain the delivery timings as requested by customers. Otherwise, poor delivery options and experience will have a detrimental impact on the brand or retailer.