Delivery is the new discount: Retailers must wake up to the demand for wider and greener delivery options

While retailers fixate on price and ever-faster deliveries, new industry research shows online shoppers have moved beyond these traditional reasons when choosing which retailer to buy from.

Research compiled by the UK courier services expert ParcelHero reveals customers will pay more or wait longer for handier or greener deliveries. It says the UK’s courier industry should be doing more to educate retailers about how versatile their delivery options can be; and that by offering more choices to consumers stores can both gain customers and save money.

Says ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Services, David Jinks MILT: ‘Retailers shouldn’t assume discounts and speed are the be-all and end-all for consumers buying online. Convenience, sustainability and return options often play just as much of a part in choosing which retailer to buy from as price. It doesn’t matter if a site is slightly cheaper, 50% of shoppers will still abandon their basket because of a lack of flexible delivery options. When it comes to competing with Amazon, it’s time to think beyond the price tag and warp speed deliveries.’


Explains David: ‘ParcelHero’s latest study reveals 74% of shoppers are happy to wait longer for purchases if it means the delivery method is more sustainable, with 9% happy to wait up to a full week for greener deliveries. And it’s not only environmental options that are winning buyers, so too is convenience. For today’s consumer, time is money: 93% of shoppers want convenient returns pick-up, whereas only 33% say same day-delivery is important – despite same-day deliveries becoming an obsession for some retailers.’

Adds David: ‘Some 78% of online retailers expect they will need to provide some kind of same-day service through their couriers by 2023. But is that really what customers are asking for?  Over half (54%) of online shoppers say they want to see free returns, as against only a quarter demanding same-day deliveries.

Says David: ‘Some e-tailers are actually considering super-fast deliveries - within as little as ten minutes – by 2025, particularly in the grocery sector. But it’s not clear where the drive for this is coming from. It’s true we live in an era where shoppers are being increasingly conditioned towards instant gratification; but at the moment only 21% are of shoppers say they are actually interested in 2 hour or less shipping. Slashed prices or speedy deliveries may be what retailers believe is the Holy Grail for attracting customers, but for many consumers, a next-day fixed delivery time would be infinitely more valuable: 44% want to see a fixed day 2-hour delivery slot option.’

Concludes David: ‘A look at our UK courier services guide shows the enormous range of pick-up and delivery options available to retailers, marketplace traders and anyone wanting to simply send a parcel. Whether the emphasis is on speed, cost or quality of service, there are literally 1000s of options: depending on the size and weight of a parcel and when it is most conveniently delivered. It’s up to everyone in the courier and retail logistics industry to explain to retailers that there is so much more they can tempt consumers with than just price and super-fast deliveries. That could lead to cheaper, greener, more convenient services for retailers and shoppers alike.’

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