With omnichannel retail fast becoming the norm, UK consumers’ heightened shopping expectations are placing pressure on brands to offer a more competitive range of delivery and returns options.
According to a recent survey by Forrester Consulting, fifty-nine per cent of consumers cite shipping costs are their biggest consideration when buying online. Furthermore, when comparing identical products at the same price, between online retailers, seventy five per cent of consumers said that the availability of free, expedited shipping would sway their decision to purchase.
As these findings outline, when developing a strategy for omnichannel delivery options, retailers must be aware that the expectations of customers have changed, as services such as free accelerated delivery or click and collect become more prevalent.
In particular, click and collect is a key capability that retailers must embrace if they are to compete in today’s demanding market. Forty seven per cent of consumers report that they use store pickup options to avoid shipping costs. Similarly, twenty five per cent use shop collection so they can collect their orders on the day of purchase because they don’t want to wait for delivery and ten per cent simply find it more convenient to pick up from a shop.
While expanding the range of delivery and collection options available is a step in the right direction for omnichannel retailers, to really meet the expectations of today’s consumers, retailers must focus on sharpening each aspect of these services. Customers are increasingly demanding features such as guarantees that their product is available, quicker delivery times, up to date notifications of where their order is, and alternative pickup locations.
Moreover, each of these service innovations must also apply to the returns process for cases where consumers are unsatisfied with their purchases. Consumers who collect an online purchase in store, for example, will naturally expect to be able to return it using this same channel, but may also value the option to send products back in the post.
Overall, it’s clear that consumer expectations are rapidly shifting, and today’s consumer demands an integrated omnichannel experience throughout the purchase process and beyond. To achieve this, retailers need to stop focusing on individual channel strategies and start ensuring that they are meeting the needs of consumers wherever, whenever, and however they approach the brand.