Consumer Delivery Expectations In The Delivery-First Era

We keep hearing about consumer delivery expectations, but do you actually know what they are, beyond fast and free shipping?

The stakes are high, as we're keeping our eyes fixed on an uncertain future.

We know for a fact though that change is the only constant in e-commerce. We're in a domain where sustainable business growth comes from anticipating consumer behavior as it emerges rather than reacting to trends that peaked yesterday.

Let's revisit where the e-commerce industry stands when it comes to consumer delivery expectations — backed up by the latest statistics — and sum up what your business can do to capture the demand for premium e-commerce delivery experiences from product consideration to return.

It's a delivery-first era of e-commerce

Shopping has shifted from store to home. With this shift, came new last-mile challenges for consumers, retailers, and carriers.

  • Consumers are overwhelmed by the delivery noise
  • Merchants struggle to provide a seamless delivery experience
  • Carriers are slow to react to the shifting market dynamics

Consumers are overwhelmed by the delivery noise

When shopping online, consumers expect to pay for convenience in the first place. No matter the expectations though, online shoppers can rarely admit e-comm deliveries fit their locations, schedules, and seasonal life patterns.

85% of online consumers in Europe say that a poor delivery experience would prevent them from a repeat purchase with the same online retailer again. They don't want to encounter high, unexpected shipping costs or unclear delivery estimates.

95% of consumers go elsewhere if an online store doesn’t offer the desired delivery option. It doesn't play well for your shopping cart abandonment rates and customer acquisition costs.

On a larger scale of things, your customers are often awaiting multiple deliveries within the same week. They're overwhelmed with the delivery noise that comes against the promise of convenience.

The more they order online, the more delivery experiences they're involved in, and so the delivery anxiety increases.

So much for convenience.

Merchants struggle to provide a seamless delivery experience

Online retailers, in turn, began to rely on an omnichannel, experience-focused game plan that works as a strategic advantage in an extremely competitive environment. Omnichannel means that sales take place on multiple channels — physical shops, online storefronts, social media — in a seamlessly connected, unified experience.

One of the key touchpoints of a unified customer journey is the delivery experience. Shopping online and getting items delivered into the hands of consumers needs to work as easily as buying items in a physical store.

That sounds good in theory, but as things stand today, e-commerce focuses on the sale of products per se rather than the delivery experience that consumers equally expect.

Most online merchants display the delivery options at checkout, almost at the end of the consumer journey. Such a way of doing business doesn't recognize the fact that many consumers shop based on the delivery experience.

They want to know which products and which merchants come with the most convenient, cheapest, and fastest delivery option, all before reaching the last step.

It's also about creating an ideal delivery experience across all stages of the shopping journey, where one touchpoint seamlessly integrates into the next — from product discovery to returns.

Such expectations exist against the backdrop of substantial last-mile delivery costs, which account for 53% of all logistical costs. Managing deliveries turns into a game of chess that requires advanced logic behind each win.

Carriers are slow to react to the shifting market dynamics

Carrier companies are no exception. They continue to rely on stale data despite highly volatile markets. In most cases, there are no insights to assess their competitive edge and delivery preferences — something that consumers expect to be done yesterday.

There's also the pandemic-induced growth that led to a massive squeeze on carrier capacity and gave carriers an upper hand in negotiating fixed shipping contracts well in advance. Such an approach no longer works for sustainable business growth of either online merchants or carrier companies, all the while fixed costs of carrier operation make up an increasingly high share due to inflation and rising fuel costs.

Instead, carrier companies would benefit from real-time pricing and availability adjustments — alongside the consumers who expect delivery convenience and merchants who are willing to provide it — on account of higher order volumes and mitigated expenses.

Finally, the lack of visibility in the order booking process affects the ability to plan. In the delivery-first era, carrier companies need to be going the extra mile in last-mile delivery — an ultra-fragmented market that enables a personalized delivery experience and remains local globally.

TL;DR: Consumers expect a delivery-first shopping experience

That's a lot to digest, but let's cut to the chase and look at the delivery-first approach from the consumer perspective. When there's a technology framework to enable a unified delivery experience for the entire shopping journey, all the pieces start falling together.

...So here's what online retailers can do about it

There are plenty of factors that come into play when shopping online, yet failed expectations around the delivery options — lack of flexibility, free shipping, delivery promise — are the most likely to affect purchase decisions.

  • Feature delivery options on product pages
  • Keep your shipping & delivery FAQ updated
  • Introduce a delivery-first checkout page
  • Show a detailed order confirmation
  • Don't forget about transparent order tracking

Feature delivery options on product pages

What we typically find on an e-commerce product page are all types of item details that help your prospects make an informed decision and boost your conversion rates — product info, images, sizing guides, social proof, care instructions, returns policy, and so on.

Where's the delivery offer? At the end of the checkout page, a lottery with many odds. E-comm delivery statistics show that about 50% of consumers drop out of the checkout process when you hit them with high or altogether unexpected delivery costs.

In other words, you're missing out on 50 out of 100 orders.

Then again, 60% of global consumers expect same-, next-, or two-day delivery, which equally factors into the purchase decision. You also need to be focusing on where and when, not only how soon, to keep your consumers in control of the delivery experience.

Why not bring the delivery offer forward? Introducing delivery options as soon as possible means that potential customers don't have to assume, predict or rely on previous shopping experiences to grasp if, when, and how the purchased products can be delivered to them.

Ingrid Product Page widget in use.
Ingrid Product Page Widget

Keep your shipping & delivery FAQ updated

Research shows that consumers want to see the delivery information before checkout. For many, it's a make-it-or-break-it deal.

Yet continuously adding and updating delivery information on your e-commerce website in a manual way, especially if it involves the input of your development team, tends to be a tedious process. Chances are, you're seeing frustrated customers, higher cart abandonment, and more support tickets.

Solutions like Ingrid FAQ Widget make it easy for consumers to find up-to-date delivery information before proceeding to checkout. It displays general information about your shipping policy — delivery types, carrier companies, labels, estimated delivery times, and prices per country — on a separate page, without any hassle for you.

Ingrid FAQ Widget implemented by Hatstore.
Ingrid FAQ Widget implemented by Hatstore

Introduce a delivery-first checkout page

Delivery checkout is by far the most important and probably the most complicated part of the customer journey. Consumers expect an effortless, personalized experience.

Why personalized? Because e-commerce deliveries are highly contextual — how the consumers want their orders delivered depends on what they’re buying, where, and when.

Let them own and enjoy their shopping experience by choosing a preferred method of last-mile delivery. Being able to meet their needs — every time, at every purchase — has been crucial for building customer loyalty.

Asket's delivery checkout in use.
Delivery checkout example from Asket

It’s a huge opportunity for online merchants. However, implementing a delivery strategy is a complex process, especially from a technical standpoint.

Products like Ingrid Delivery Checkout simplify the whole process by allowing you to present the best possible delivery options for each market with high accuracy, smart pricing, and an easy-to-use interface.

What's more, you can use the existing data and A/B testing feature to monitor the delivery expectations of your consumer base and continuously optimize your delivery checkout.

"Through Ingrid's checkout optimization we are able to create the best possible delivery experience for all customers."
Nicklas Törnqvist, Supply Chain Manager at Adlibris

Show a detailed order confirmation

It turns out that many online retailers miss out on order confirmation with a detailed overview of the purchase or just underuse the business value it provides. There's more to it than thanking the customer for choosing your brand.

Take address mistakes, for instance. Loqate's data shows that when addresses are inaccurate or incomplete, 41% of deliveries are delayed and 39% simply fail. Even the smallest errors cost both carriers and merchants a lot of money.

Showing a detailed receipt with ordered products, address information, payment method, and chosen delivery option is a good way to help customers double-check all the information once more.

Ingrid Receipt in action.
Ingrid Receipt

Don't forget about transparent order tracking

Once they finalize the purchase, customers treat the product as theirs. Yet there's a lot that can wrong between 'purchased' and 'delivered', and from the merchant's perspective, there's likely an emphasis on conversion and sales, but not on what happens after.

Order tracking simply closes the gap between checkout and delivery and helps to ease anxieties about a product being lost, delayed, or stolen. Needless to say, that leads to fewer support issues, number one of them being a where-is-my-order (WISMO) request.

Typically, however, carriers and other business partners communicate directly with your customers after the purchase. When you think about it though, it's you who invested in converting consumers and deserve to be in contact with them at all times.

Ingrid Tracking in action.
Ingrid Tracking

We've studied the market
and offered a solution to all of that. Ingrid Tracking offers more transparency and improves the shopping experience with clear and relevant order tracking details, right after the purchase has been made.

No matter the carrier company, delivery option, preferred language version, or the 'complexity' of the order, Ingrid Tracking offers the same tracking experience for all e-commerce orders.

''Reducing the number of delivery-related support tickets from 37% to 4% has been a joint effort where Ingrid’s brand new Tracking page played a big role."
Adam Gudmundsson, Head of E-commerce, IDEAL OF SWEDEN

Delivery experience as a unique selling proposition

As consumer delivery expectations show, the e-commerce domain has entered a delivery-first era. Online merchants need to re-think their delivery experience vis-à-vis evolving customer delivery needs as one of the main — and heavily underestimated — brand differentiators.

Simplified shopping experience for consumers

Data shows that a consumer-oriented, delivery-first strategy has become a common denominator of a seamless online shopping journey from product consideration to return. Approached the right way, it increases predictability and reduces delivery anxiety, which brings you reduced cart abandonment, better conversion, customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty.

Excellent delivery orchestration for retailers

End-to-end solutions like Ingrid Delivery Platform help online merchants manage delivery experiences in a multi-carrier, multi-channel and multi-market environment with an advanced, no-code delivery logic and local deliveries globally.

In short, we create delivery experiences that fit people's lives. ‍Book a demo and give it a try.

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