If this piece had been written in, let’s say, 1673, we would have happily announced the establishment of a monthly post between New York and Boston. But this is 2016 and the good-old post riders aren’t really cutting it. These days you’d be lucky if two-day shipping makes customers raise an eyebrow.
So what does get online shoppers excited?
While drone delivery may still seem like an unrealistic prospect to the average small business owner, there're other more down-to-earth e-commerce shipping trends worth keeping an eye on:
Free beats fast
Here’s a surprising fact: As many as nine in 10 consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping when shopping online, according to a Deloitte survey. When asked which retail offer they were the most likely to take advantage of, “free shipping” topped the list at 72 percent while only 32 percent picked “discounts on expedited shipping.” Still, shoppers expect shipping to be fast – two days or less – and they don’t want to pay much to speed it up (24 percent even refuse to spend anything at all on same-day delivery). To make free shipping financially viable, many businesses now set a minimum spending amount before the offer kicks in.
Tracking all the way
A “sorry we missed you” note on the door is a sure way to make your customers see red. Consumers are growing less patient with carriers that will not specify a time slot for the delivery. A large percentage – 76 percent – want to know exactly when their purchase will arrive and 37 percent are actually willing to pay a premium for it, according to a Temando survey. On-demand delivery services such as UberRUSH, Deliv, and Doorman let customers themselves pick the time that the package should be delivered. Your most time-challenged customers will also be pleased with Hold for Pickup by UPS and USPS Package Intercept. This leads us to the next trend…
The more, the merrier
Consumers like a smorgasbord of delivery options. If you can offer more than standard, expedited, and overnight, you’re in luck. The more options that you offer, the more likely consumers are to do business with you, an Accenture study shows. Six in 10 consumers even choose retailers based on the number of delivery options. Don’t rule out international shipping and consider offering local pickup options. Same-day shipping and carrier-specific selections can also be part of your win-win delivery strategy.
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