Analysts have suggested the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to eCommerce by roughly five years. The wider societal shift to eCommerce has transformed consumer behaviour and purchasing habits that require retailers to adapt. This is according to the results of a study released by LaserShip, a regional eCommerce parcel carrier in the US. Consumers still overwhelmingly prefer home delivery over buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and other forms of click and collect.
The report suggests consumers are increasingly choosing retailers that can provide faster delivery. LaserShip commissioned the study from Hanover Research. The research surveyed 3,000 consumers to understand how shopping behaviours and preferences have evolved since the start of the pandemic. The research, including takeaways and recommendations for eCommerce retailers, is outlined in LaserShip’s whitepaper.
Key insights from the study include:
- Consumers still prefer home delivery, despite the growth of BOPIS and click and collect. 81% of consumers prefer home delivery over BOPIS, up nearly 10% from 2020.
- Slow delivery is costing retailers business. 73% of consumers view fast delivery as critical online shopping criteria, a 16% increase from 2020. As a result, they are choosing retailers that can deliver their items more quickly. In 2021 alone, slow delivery caused 64% of consumers to not try a new retailer and 54% to switch retailers.
- Consumers want their items to arrive faster and are willing to pay for it. Nearly 60% of shoppers surveyed paid for faster delivery, with 69% of those having paid more for next-day delivery. These findings are particularly compelling and reflect the extent of the pandemic’s impact on shopping behaviours. 62% of consumers surveyed in June 2020 had never paid for expedited delivery.
- Consumers will switch retailers to get free shipping. High shipping cost is the leading cause of cart abandonment, driving half of consumers to abandon their carts in 2021. Moreover, 81% of consumers switched retailers because shipping was too expensive.
Consumers still overwhelmingly prefer home delivery
As convenience increasingly drives online purchasing decisions, it is no surprise that consumers look for fast and reliable home delivery. The demand for home delivery is at an all-time high and it is only growing stronger. 89% of consumers surveyed prefer home delivery over BOPIS and other forms of click and collect. This is up nearly 10% from 2020, even with the vaccine available and in-store shopping restrictions lifted in many states.
New shopping behaviours caused by the pandemic are here to stay. As a result, home delivery is expected to grow further. According to a study by SWNS Digital, over 50% of shoppers expect to use home delivery more in the future. Of these, 83% think there will come a time when home delivery is their primary method of shopping. Furthermore, half plan to make home delivery their primary shopping method within the next five years.
“The pandemic has increased shoppers’ preferences for free and fast home delivery,” said Josh Dinneen, Chief Commercial Officer of LaserShip. “This study provides retailers with key insights and strategies to help them build flexible, resilient supply chains that meet consumers’ expectations and respond to evolving shopping behaviours in to acquire customers and increase brand loyalty.”
Enterprise Times: What this means for business.
This is quite an interesting report from LaserShip. While the pandemic may have changed the way consumers shop, these new behaviours are here to stay. The new reality is not going away anytime soon. The stand out figure is that 86% of consumers are planning to maintain or increase their level of online shopping after COVID-19. The report outlines the reasons why citing convenience and time-savings as the primary motivations. As more consumers shop online, how retailers handle their delivery strategy or post-purchase shopping experience can make or break a business. The outcome of the report echoes similar reports from a variety of other organisations including BigCommerce and PayPal. Retailers must develop omnichannel strategies to support the new customer choices.