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Shipping an afterthought for online retailers: study


Austin, TX — A new global survey of digital consumers and merchants explores shipping’s growing role in e-commerce. BigCommerce, the leading ecommerce SaaS platform for fast-growing and established brands, released Shipping, Delivered: Best Practices & Expectations for 2019 — a new research study that examines survey responses of nearly 3,000 digital consumers and 800 online merchants to understand the role that shipping plays in the consumer purchase journey and how brands are adjusting operations to meet shifting expectations.

The study concludes that, whil e-commerce and shipping have a symbiotic relationship, shipping often becomes an afterthought for online retailers. For customers, however, a brand’s shipping experience can carry just as much weight as the product it sells and how it is marketed to them. An alarming 77 per cent of global survey respondents have abandoned an online purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options, while 58 per cent have actually stopped shopping with particular retailers altogether as a result of a negative shipping experience.

“Retailers need to take into account a number of critical factors to make a meaningful difference in e-commerce shipping, and finally bring it to a level playing field with the rest of the e-commerce experience,” said Jimmy Duvall, chief product officer at BigCommerce. “This new report provides merchants with valuable insight into consumers’ shipping expectations, and best practices to create experiences that drive conversion and continued loyalty.”

In the global report, BigCommerce details key findings, including:

Keeping Up With the Amazon’s

The mass adoption of Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping, as well as similar efforts from big box retailers like Walmart and Target, have changed consumer expectations. In the past 12 months, 84 per cent of global survey respondents have made a purchase from an online retailer specifically because it offered free shipping, and half of respondents said that they avoid shopping with retailers that do not offer delivery at no-cost.

Turn Free Shipping Into Revenue With Millennial and Gen Z Shoppers

Free shipping can make online shoppers feel like they’re getting a deal – even if it means spending more to get it. In the last 12 months, eighty-four per cent of global consumers have added items to their cart in order to receive free shipping. From a generational viewpoint, nearly 90 per cent of Millennial and 85 per cent of Gen Z respondents indicated they have added items to their cart solely to hit a minimum order threshold for free shipping, with about one-third (33 per cent) of Millennials admitting to ‘doing this all the time.’

The Amazon Effect: Merchants Struggle With Consumers’ Evolving Shipping Expectations

Even before Amazon announced its rollout of free one-day shipping for Prime members, 68 per cent of surveyed merchants felt that Amazon’s shipping practices put unfair pressure on independent retailers. Keeping pace with Amazon’s shipping speed becomes even more challenging for the 80 per cent of merchant respondents that handle their own product fulfillment rather than relying on a third-party logistics provider (3PL).

A Dysfunctional Relation-ship 

Consumers care about shipping – so much so that it can make or break their perception of a retailer. But, there’s very little merchant recognition of shipping’s impact on sales; forty-seven percent of merchant respondents were unaware of their online cart abandonment rate, nor the percentage of cart abandonment caused by shipping options. Additionally, the survey found that only 13 per cent offer free shipping on all purchases, while a larger percentage (39 per cent) give consumers free shipping on purchases over a designated dollar amount.

Convenience Trumps Sustainability in Shipping

While consumers aren’t currently too concerned in the effects e-commerce shipping has on the environment, they are open to making changes to ease some of the burden – as long as the change requires very little effort from them. Sixty per cent of global consumers already recycle packaging from an online shipment ‘often’ or ‘almost always’, and nearly one-third of consumers would be open to driving to a physical store to pick up an online shipment rather than have it delivered directly to their house. Shockingly, roughly the same percentage of consumers (29 per cent) have no interest in making any changes to the shipping process to help offset its carbon footprint on the environment.


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