UK Shoppers Prefer Free Delivery over Speedy Shipments

UK Shoppers Prefer Free Delivery over Speedy Shipments

With consumer spending affected by the cost of living crisis, deliveries are becoming increasingly important for retailers to differentiate and increase sales.

A survey of over 1000 UK consumers, commissioned by nShift, the global providers of delivery management software, in partnership with Retail Week, finds that deliveries are a critical part of the online shopping experience.  With consumer spending affected by the cost of living crisis, deliveries are becoming increasingly important for retailers to differentiate and increase sales.

How They’ll Spend it 2024, produced by Retail Week in partnership with nShift, found 58% of shoppers would buy again from retailers which deliver purchases efficiently.  Almost half of respondents (48%) agreed that if they had a bad delivery experience, they would be reluctant to recommend a brand or retailer to friends and family. 

When asked to select their top three delivery choices, some 69% of respondents opted for free delivery, even if it led to a longer wait.  41% of respondents selected click and collect, either from the retailer’s store or a designated pick-up point such as a locker.  Almost a quarter (24%) chose the ability to specify a delivery time and date.

Some 43% of respondents agreed that a failure to find their preferred shipment option has caused them to abandon a retailer in the past six months.

Lars Pedersen, CEO at nShift, said: “Excellence in delivery management can persuade consumers to buy, and create reasons to come back, time and again.  From choice over delivery options, to tracking the status of deliveries, making easy returns, and even creating new marketing opportunities, the post-purchase experience helps to build customer loyalty. 

“That means getting the delivery right can no longer be taken for granted. Different consumers will have different preferences and requirements, depending on what they are buying and when they need it. Retailers must be able to give customers choices about how their parcels are delivered.  Being able to provide that choice means having access to a wide range of carriers, to cover all those options.”

Wrestling with returns

The research highlighted that today’s shoppers expect to return unwanted purchases free of charge.  Some 74% said that they would be less likely to shop with a retailer that charges return fees.  According to Retail Week, each return is estimated to cost around £20, adding up to a total cost for British retailers of some £7bn a year.

Lars Pedersen continues, “There’s a real risk that returns become the silent killer of profits in online retail.  The right delivery management and returns software can help online and multichannel retailers square the circle of giving consumers what they want and protecting revenue. 

“Digital returns make it easier to convert returns to exchanges.  They can also facilitate different policies and approaches, such as charging for returns online, but offering them free in store.  This encourages shoppers back into a physical outlet where they are more likely to make additional purchases.  They also enable retailers to tailor returns procedures for different customers, helping minimise the associated costs.”

nShift can power excellence in delivery and returns by:

  • Connecting retailers and warehouses to a library of over 1000 ready-made carrier connections.  This makes it easier to facilitate a greater range of delivery options such as express, free delivery, click and collect or lower emissions
  • Making it easier to compare performance between different carrier companies, identifying and rectifying particular issues.  This can help drive up the overall quality of the delivery process
  • Seamlessly displaying and badging different delivery options at checkout, helping to increase cart conversions by 20%
  • Facilitating a cutting-edge digital returns experience that typically converts 30% of returns to exchanges