Delivery has come a long way since the early days of ecommerce, but some online retailers are still failing to offer a range of delivery options to suit their customers’ needs. 

As stats from a new Econsultancy Multichannel Retail Survey show, customers are demanding more flexibility in delivery options, and retailers need to offer this to increase conversions. 

The survey, conducted using the Toluna survey tool, found that 50% of respondents had abandoned a purchase online due to unsatisfactory delivery options. 

So which options are customers looking for, and who is offering them? 

Lack of delivery options = abandoned purchases

The figure of 50% abandoning purchases due to inadequate delivery options does seem high (this was an online survey, and so skews towards the ‘tech-savvy’), but it shows the importance of providing choice for consumers. 

Let’s face it, not everyone has the time to wait around for deliveries, so more certainty is required. Standard delivery will suit some customers, and many would prefer to wait longer and have free or cheaper delivery.

However, there are people who want the product ASAP. If your competitor has next day delivery for the same item and you don’t, you may lose out. 

This stat goes some way to proving this. 

Have you ever abandoned an online purchase due to lack of delivery options?

Which ‘premium’ delivery options do customers want?

Well, a fixed date is the most popular choice (31%), closely followed by next day delivery and the ability to collect from stores (both 24%). 

The common theme here is that, unlike the ‘standard’ delivery within two or three days, these options provide more certainty for customer and enable them to plan around delivery dates and times. 

Thinking about delivery options, what would make you more likely to buy online?

Which delivery options are retailers offering? 

The ecommerce industry has certainly improved over the years in this respect, and stats from the Micros Online Delivery Report show this. 

  • 68% of retailers offered the customer next day delivery in 2012, up from 61% for the previous year.
  • This figure increases to 81% when looking solely at retailers from the IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops list. More established online retailers in other words. 
  • Not so many were offering nominated day delivery though – just 23% of all retailers, and 41% of those from the Hot Shops list. 
  • Saturday delivery is a great option to appeal to those customers who are out of the house during the week, but just 33% of all and 46% of Hot Shop retailers offer this. 

I’ve had a look at some well-know online retailers in the UK…

H&M

This is an area H&M should look into as its option (yes, there’s only one) is very inflexible and not at all competitive compared with fashion rivals. 

A fixed charge where many offer standard delivery free, and a vague promise of delivery within four to six working days isn’t really good enough. 

ASOS

ASOS covers most of these options, with next day and evening delivery, though it doesn’t have a nominated day option. The use of Collect+ is growing, and this is a great option for pureplays with no high street presence, given the popularity of ‘reserve and collect‘. 

Tesco

Tesco has a good range of options, though they don’t seem to be offered uniformly throughout the site. 

The option to request a call to arrange a convenient delivery time is an interesting one, though perhaps people would need to know dates before they decide on a purchase. 

House of Fraser

In House of Fraser, I’ve found a retailer that covers all bases. Same day, nominated day, next day, collect in store, you name it. 

This should ensure that, if customers do abandon a purchase on the site, it won’t be due to lack of convenient delivery options. 

Econsultancy’s JUMP event on October 9 is all about creating seamless multichannel customer experiences. Now, in its fourth year it will be attended by more than 1,200 senior client-side marketers. This year it forms part of our week-long Festival of Marketing extravaganza.