What will your customers want from online delivery & returns?

It’s time to close the gap…

eCommerce growth is on the rise – in fact, it’s estimated that online shopping will account for 30% of all retail purchases by 2024*, and the recent Covid19 pandemic has only accelerated this growth.

But now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Yes, eCommerce is booming but as we come out of lockdown and customers begin to leave the house, competition will be fierce, and consumers will expect more flexibility and convenience as workers return to offices, children return to schools and busy lives return to normal.

Research shows time and again that, last-mile delivery and returns options directly influence consumers’ decisions to purchase – and purchase again.

According to our Consumer Home Delivery Review with IMRG, almost HALF of all consumers have abandoned a cart because the delivery options on offer weren’t convenient. When it comes to returns, the stakes are even higher with 73% of consumers stating in the recent survey by ZigZag that they would not buy again from a retailer after a bad returns experience.

Retailers who think a ‘one size fits all’ approach to delivery and returns is good enough, do so at their own peril as not only can it end the purchase before the customer has even clicked ‘add to basket’, but it will almost certainly diminish the likelihood of them buying again.

Furthermore, the consumer is not discerning whether they are buying online via your website or from a marketplace – they expect to have the same seamless delivery and returns experience every time, regardless of where they buy from.

It’s clear there is still a very big gap between what consumers expect and want from their online delivery and returns experience – and, what they actually experience.

A Good Delivery Experience = Sales Success!

The convenience of online shopping has piled pressure on retailers to meet (and exceed) ever-more-demanding consumer expectations. Delivery and returns have become key to helping brands stand out and differentiate themselves against competitors – especially on online marketplaces where consumers will directly compare retailers on the same site.

It can feel like there’s a race to the finish line with delivery – it’s either got to be lightning fast or completely free. But you can offer customers something more and something better. What customers really want is convenience and choice. They are looking to have the flexibility to choose the delivery service that causes the least disruption in their day to day lives, whether this be next day, a specific time or day or click and collect at a range of price options – especially as life is set to get busier after Lockdown 3.0.

Offering a choice of delivery options at the checkout can be the difference between a customer completing a sale or abandoning it altogether as 45% of customers say they will abandon a purchase if there is a lack of convenient delivery options**.

It’s also important to give customers transparency as 70% of consumers said the ability to track orders was one of their top three considerations when buying a product online***.

Shine a light on any delivery blind spots by providing consistent notifications and live updates on the progress of their delivery, including if there are any anticipated delays. Letting your customer know in advance prevents the inconvenience of them having to contact you, which also cuts down on the number of inbound customer queries.

The delivery experience doesn’t just affect the first sale, but also repeat sales. 60% of customers would buy again from a retailer if they had a good delivery experience**, proving that getting delivery right can increase customer loyalty and help you grow your business.

Don’t Leave Returns Behind….

As many retailers focus on the importance of delivery, returns continue to be a bit of an afterthought. Yes, they are frustrating and costly but there is a common misconception that making returns too easy can lead to ‘serial returns’ behaviour. However, some 42% of shoppers have returned something in the last 6 months,* so there really is no getting away from returns.

If we think about this differently, a poor returns experience not only prevents future returns but future sales too. And with so many returns taking place on a daily basis, just think how many potential sales that could be if you make the returns process a great one.

78% of consumers consider the quality of a returns service when choosing where to shop and 85% of consumers have a preference of how they would like to make a return^.

Your returns policy can give customers confidence to buy for the first time, while a good returns experience gains trust, repeat purchases and long-term customer loyalty.

In fact, 92% of shoppers who have received a good returns experience make repeat purchases^.

But what are customers looking for when it comes to returns?

With more technology at their fingertips and less time to spare – consumers need returns to be speedy, convenient and simple. Prioritising returns in your day-to-day operations will help save time, money and effort in the long run. The more coherent, time efficient and flexible you can be for your consumers, the more confident they will be to make that repeat purchase.

80% of customers also want confirmation that their parcel has been received for transparency over when they will get their refund or new item^. Companies must adapt to this level of communication and upgrade their technology for consistent and reliable tracking.

How Can Retailers Provide A Seamless Delivery & Returns Experience?

Perfecting the delivery experience isn’t easy, especially during and after a pandemic when customer expectations can shift dramatically from one day to the next. That’s why it’s going to be important to provide the flexibility of a wide range of delivery options with accurate and consistent delivery updates and simple returns – all without additional cost.

Multi-carrier delivery really is at the heart of the solution. Having multiple carriers and delivery services at your fingertips gives you the breadth of service and flexibility to offer customers the choice and convenience they’ve come to expect – as well the contingency to switch services if you need to.

But managing multiple suppliers, and having multiple technologies, can create operational complexity.

At GFS, we take away this pressure by offering access to 1000+ carrier services, all in one place, which means one invoice, one technology platform and one single relationship. With access to the expertise and the technology you need to give your customers choice and transparency, you can perfect the final mile and give your customers the positive experience they’re searching for – now and in the future.

Want to see how you can beat the competition and boost sales conversions at the checkout with delivery and returns?

Join our webinar “Close the gap on the customer delivery & returns experience” at 11am on the 29th of April to find out:

  • Top 5 insights from the latest research on what consumers expect from delivery and returns
  • What a ‘best-practice’ delivery & returns experience looks like
  • Building the right mix of delivery options and technology tools to solve the problem
  • Seeing this in practice – a live demo of a seamless customer delivery and returns experience

* https://www.retail-insight-network.com/features/uk-online-shopping-growth/

** – GFS/IMRG Consumer Home Delivery Report 2019/20

*** – Global eCommerce Consumer Research Report, 2020

^ – ZigZag Global Returns Study, 2020

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