Consumers Willing to Wait Longer for Online Orders If It Means Free Shipping

According to a new study by research and consulting firm, AlixPartners LLP, shoppers are willing to wait longer for their packages as long as they receive free shipping. 

75% of the consumers in the study said they were willing to wait at least five days for an e‑commerce order to arrive if the shipping were free—including 50% who said they’d wait a full week. Another 12% of consumers said they’d wait only four days for an order shipped for free; 9% would wait up to three days, 4% up to two days.

SHIPPING COSTS, SALES TAX ARE BARRIERS TO ONLINE PURCHASE

When asked the main reasons they don’t make online purchases, 36% of consumers cited the shipping costs. That made shipping costs the second-​most common reason they balk at buying online, only slightly behind the 37% who prefer to see and touch an item in person before purchasing.

Consumers like the ease and comfort of home shopping as well as
the cost and selection of products. They also like saving on sales tax; 60% say they would reduce purchases if state sales taxes were applied at time of purchase.

In addition, the need to see/​touch the item before ordering and the cost of delivery are major drivers of purchase behavior, which explains why smaller items are more popular in this channel (cheaper to ship) and demonstrates that those retailers who offer attractive shopping/​returning options will have the competitive advantage.

RETAILERS: SIMPLIFY RETURNS AND OFFER LOWER-​COST SHIPPING OPTIONS

Retailers looking to win in this channel should consider simplifying the returns process in conjunction with lower-​cost shipping options; some retailers have introduced pre-​set shipping programs that offer fixed-​shipment pricing, tiered shipping costs with larger orders, and discounted-​shipping memberships.  Retailers that establish third-​party logistics partnerships to lower shipping costs may also unlock potential in
so-​far untapped shop-​at-​home markets for larger products, including larger appliances, electronics, and furniture.

[Source:  "Home-​Delivery Shopping Survey."  AlixPartners LLP.  3 May 2012.  Web  9 May 2012.]