Canadian Shipper


Free shipping helps Amazon hold onto conflicted consumers: survey

Austin, TX — A new consumer survey finds that many consumers have negative feelings towards Amazon when it comes to its impact on the retail industry and the planet. However, those objections don’t necessarily translate into lost sales, especially for shoppers who rely on Amazon for the majority of their goods.

The survey, conducted by last-mile delivery IT provider Convey, of 2,000 U.S. consumers revealed that the key to Amazon’s success is its industry-disrupting shipping offering. Yet, the study shows that a significant portion of its customers would consider buying elsewhere. The major findings include:

One in four respondents (24%) have negative feelings about Amazon’s impact on the retail industry as a whole. This disapproval only grows when it comes to Amazon’s ecological footprint, with 27% of respondents saying they feel very or somewhat negative about Amazon’s impact on the environment.

However, these sentiments don’t necessarily impact shopping behavior. A full 21% of shoppers who were negative about Amazon’s impact on retail still reported buying at least 50% of all their goods on Amazon. Negative sentiment on environmental impact didn’t seem to sway shoppers either; more than one in four (24%) shoppers who believe Amazon is very or somewhat damaging to the environment still buy at least 50% of all their goods on Amazon.

“Retailers know that the delivery experience is a critical piece of the ecommerce puzzle, and this survey proves just how important it really is,” said Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, chief growth officer at Convey. “This study shows how a positive delivery experience translates into loyalty and sales — and can even overcome negative perceptions about a brand. In 2020, retailers need to pay careful attention to delivery, not just speed and cost, but also keeping their shipping promises and proactively communicating along the way.”

The survey also revealed that younger respondents feel more strongly about Amazon’s ecological footprint than older generations. More than 1 in 3 (35%) Millennials said Amazon has a very or somewhat negative impact on the environment – 30% higher than respondents overall.

Despite these concerns, fully 47% of respondents do at least a quarter of their shopping on Amazon, and 23% buy more than half of all their goods on the site. Fast and free shipping is far and away the top reason people shop at Amazon, selected by 80% of respondents, followed second by the broad selection of merchandise (69%). Nearly half of respondents (49%) said Amazon offers the best pricing, and 4 in 10 (42%) named ‘best online shopping experience’ as the reason why they choose Amazon.

More specifically, the ‘free’ price tag is the linchpin to Amazon’s success. A full 1 in 4 respondents (25%) said they would not use Amazon at all if they had to pay for shipping, and 4 in 10 (39%) said they were unsure – meaning that close to two thirds (64%) of shoppers would consider buying elsewhere if free shipping were not offered.

By contrast, consumers said they’re slightly more flexible when it comes to delivery speed. While just over 1 in 10 respondents (12%) said arrival within 1-2 days is essential for them to continue using Amazon, more than half (55%) said they would still use the site if deliveries arrived in 3-4 days, as long as shipping was free. However, this tolerance declines sharply if packages take more than 5 days to arrive (34%), with just 9% saying they would wait more than 8 days for their free Amazon deliveries.



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