Descartes Survey: Ecommerce Deliveries Still Need Improvement
Descartes Systems Group, a leader in bringing together logistics-intensive businesses, has released the results of its second annual consumer sentiment study of ecommerce home delivery.
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The report surveyed 8,000 consumers in Europe and North America to gain insights into how shoppers perceived their delivery experience.
The good news is that delivery performance has improved by 6% last year versus the company’s 2022 survey.
However, 67% of consumers said they still experienced a home delivery problem during the three-month period surveyed, with the top three reasons being all about timeliness.
- 23% received their delivery much later than expected.
- 22% received their delivery at a different time than expected.
- 18% said the delivery time offered was longer than they were happy with.
The troubling news for ecommerce businesses is that over two-thirds (68%) of shoppers said they took some form of action against the seller or delivery company due to the poor delivery experience.
- 24% lost trust in the delivery company.
- 21% did not order from the seller again.
- 19% lost trust in the seller.
- 17% avoided sellers who used that delivery company.
- 16% told friends/family to avoid the seller.
This data shows that with the pandemic past us, consumers are becoming more demanding on delivery promises and experiences, no longer giving ecommerce businesses a pass.
And while shoppers blame the courier or delivery service most, they hold online retailers and sellers responsible for delivery issues.
So, how should ecommerce businesses react to better satisfy customers and keep them coming back for more?
- 39% of shoppers value the lowest cost more versus speed.
- 22% want to know a precise delivery window, and consider speed less important.
- 15% said they want fast delivery, with timeliness less essential.
- 14% of consumers preferred fast and precise delivery, with cost being less important.
- 9% valued environmentally friendly delivery, with speed being less critical.
These responses suggest that free or cheap delivery is still a primary concern when shoppers buy online, but it doesn’t have to be super fast.
As much as Amazon keeps increasing the availability of free next-day delivery, a significant number of shoppers seem to understand that shipping costs are a significant cost factor for online businesses, especially if they are offering free delivery.
In addition, the survey found that nearly 1/4 (25%) of consumers are willing to pay extra for faster delivery.
This should give small online businesses a little hope that while free or inexpensive delivery options help drive sales, they don’t have to overspend on shipping to offer next-day delivery.
Another interesting data point is that sustainable delivery is less significant to the average consumer than what many online business owners may have thought.
Mail operators and courier services are all improving to become more eco-friendly, but as a marketing ploy to drive sales, this may mean less to shoppers.
Of course, there is a difference in this impact based on demographics. For example, among 18-24 year olds, 85% considered sustainable delivery important, while only 49% of adults 65 and over considered it a factor.
For online businesses that appeal to a younger audience, offering a sustainable delivery option, even at the cost of speed, might be a good business decision.
With a return to “normal” from the pandemic years, the survey also confirms what some small sellers have been reporting in ecommerce and seller Facebook groups, a slowdown in online activity.
In the 2022 study, Descartes found that 22% of consumers said they had less disposable income, and that number rose drastically to 37% during this survey.
While disposable income is the primary reason shoppers slowed making purchases, there is another somewhat surprising trend. 31% of consumers found buying in-store more convenient, up from 28% the year before.
The first thought would be that shoppers want to touch, feel, and try the product in the store, especially in the fashion and accessories categories.
But, the survey found the number of shoppers that want to see the product in person dropped from 42% in 2022 to 32% in 2023. This suggests that easy return policies by online businesses are replacing the need to see or try on a product first, and only 15% of those surveyed said they ran into significant challenges returning a product.
The bottom line is that a customer-friendly return policy and process are a must for ecommerce businesses to stay competitive.
To see all the findings from the 2023 Descartes Home Delivery Consumer Sentiment Study, check this link here. There is a lot to digest, and the information offers some interesting insights for ecommerce business owners to improve their delivery experiences keeping customers happy and buying more.
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Richard is co-founder of eSeller365. He has over 17 years of experience on eBay which includes tens of thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries and even has experience with eBay’s VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights for a former employer. And for about two years Richard sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA in the US.
To “relax” from the daily business grind, for a few weekends a year, he also works for IMSA as a professional race official.