Internet Sellers Need to Work on Their Shipping Formulas

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Six out of 10 shoppers want three-hour delivery, but only 20% of retailers offer the option.

As this past holiday season illustrated, Internet retailers continue to struggle with the shipping formulas that will maximize sales and fulfill customer expectations. A new study from Temando, a provider of shipping and fulfillment software recently acquired by Neopost, finds a retail community that fails to deliver what shoppers really want.

For instance, three quarters of consumers want guaranteed weekend or after-hours shipping. Only a third of retailers, however, offer that option, according to the survey of more than 1,000 Americans and 214 U.S.retailers conducted for Temando by Research Now. Similarly, 61% of consumers desire “hyper-local” shipping that will get parcels to them within three hours of ordering, and 36% are willing to collect packages from lockers. Just one out of five retailers say they offer those options.

“Consumer time is valuable. Instead of waiting for a food delivery, many are willing to pick it up themselves from a locker. Retailers have to reset their delivery variables to what individual customers want,” says Carl Harmann, CEO of Temando, whose platform enables e-coms to personalize shipping options for customers based on their past behavior. In so doing, Hartmann claims, retailers have the ability to achieve a double dip of lower shipping costs and higher customer satisfaction.

One of the variables retailers often fail to consider, Hartmann says, is asking consumers to pay more for special deliveries. Thirty-one percent of consumers claim they'd pay extra for hyper-local shipping service and 42% are willing to pony up for after-hours and weekend deliveries.

What consumers desire most from shipping options is transparency, says the study, and most retailers comply. Fully 97% of shoppers say they want to be able to track packages easily online, and 80% of retailers say they offer that service. Only 66%, however, offer tracking via mobile devices.

High shipping rates are the chief concern of small retailers, while midsize and large merchants worry more about meeting customer expectations, the study reports. Retailers say that negative brand image and reduced customer loyalty are the most common consequences of bad shipping experiences.

Looking to the future, half of Americans say they look forward to receiving parcels from drones and 33% of retailers polled say they are poised to take to the air.

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