Growing eCommerce holiday sales can mean one thing for retailers: more packages to fulfill and deliver. And, when it’s holiday gifts you have to deliver, your customers better receive those packages on time.
When they don’t, customers will leave you an earful and you’ll lose their business for this year, and next.
Most retailers already know the importance of fulfillment and thy’re gearing up to make sure they deliver on time this year. In this post, we’ll show you all the statistics you need to know about shipping this 2015 holiday season.
How Shipping Rates and Delivery Times Impact the Buying Decision
The 2013 holiday season was a disaster for retailers. Bad weather and a shortened holiday calendar left many sellers scrambling the days before Christmas to get customer packages delivered on time. Many people woke up on Christmas Eve and learned that their packages would be delivered after Christmas day.
This left a bad taste in customers’ mouth. Some probably wrote off the retailers they bought from. That’s because shipping plays an important role in a customer’s decision to buy.
According to a customer experience study by UPS,
- Delivery speed is the 4th most important factor when comparing retailers (after selection, product information, and reputation)
- 50% of customers abandon a cart due to lengthy delivery times or when no delivery date is provided
As a seller, you need to meet customers’ expectation when it comes to delivery times. UPS’s customer experience study also provides insight into how long customers are willing to wait.
- 7 days is the average time that shoppers are willing to wait for delivery
- 85% of online shoppers will wait 5 days or more for delivery
But, what customers are really looking for is free shipping. See how important free shipping is:
- 4 in 5 customers feel that free shipping is an important factor when making a purchase online
- 93% of shoppers take action to qualify for free shipping, and the leading action to take is adding items to a cart (58%).
- 83% of customers say they will wait an additional 2 days or more to receive free shipping
Knowing the impact that shipping rates and delivery times can play on a customer’s decision to buy, retailers vowed in 2014 to increase their fulfillment standards.[bctt tweet=”Delivery speed is 4th most important factor when comparing retailers #holidayshopping #retail trends”]
Learn from 2014 Holiday Shopping Statistics: Faster Shipping Times
The focus of 2014 holiday shopping trends were providing free shipping and faster delivery times to the latest deadline possible in the calendar year. These insights can help you prepare for 2015 holiday season.
- 3 percent of retailers polled plan to offer free standard shipping of some sort in the 2014 season, nearly seven in 10 (69.1%) say their guarantee for Christmas delivery will expire on the Friday before Christmas
- 6% companies surveyed gave customers until December 23rd to take advantage of the offer for free or upgraded expedited shipping promotion.
- 50% of retailers are comfortable offering express one-day or overnight shipping as late as December 23rd for a guaranteed Christmas delivery.
Focusing on shipping for the 2014 holiday season paid off for retailers: top retailers shaved 10% off the average delivery time for online orders.
E-tailing Group reported that the average order took 3.42 days to arrive via ground shipping during the fourth quarter, a 10% decrease from 2.80 days in 2013.
We expect shipping and fulfillment to once again be a top trend for retailers this 2015 holiday shopping season.
What to Expect for 2015 Shipping and Fulfillment Trends
Retailers recognize that shipping and fulfillment are of upmost importance during the holiday season. Online customers look online to find the best deal, and delivery time and cost are an important factor on whether or not they buy.
This is forcing retailers to really step up their game and deliver. For the 2015 holiday season, retailers should expect:
- More promotions and offers to upgrade, or expedite shipping delivery dates
- Offer more free shipping promotions earlier in the season
- Extend deadlines to the latest moment possible for guaranteed Christmas day delivery
- Investment in more site and service features aimed to better the customer experience for shipping and fulfillment
While, shipping and fulfillment largely deals with cost and actual delivery dates, retailers are making investment in different features that also help the cause. Shop.org’s eHoliday survey found that retailers also planned to invest in these features:
If you didn’t invest in technology for these features last year, you should consider them for this holiday. These types of features make a big difference in the level of customer experience that you provide.
More 2015 Holiday Shopping Trends Statistics
While shipping definitely is an important trend, it’s not the only one. In case you missed them, read our articles about other holiday shopping trends:
- 2015 Holiday Shopping Retail Trends: When People Plan to Shop
- 2015 Holiday Shopping Retail Trends: eCommerce On the Rise
- Presentation: Holiday Shopping Statistics for Retailers
- 2015 Holiday eCommerce Checklist for Merchants
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