News Feature | September 20, 2017

Retail Customers Are Demanding Lower Costs, Faster Speeds, And Transparent Delivery

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

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New report finds 28 percent of consumers feel retailers aren’t meeting their delivery expectations.

The demands of the digital buyer are constantly shifting, as the new Walker Sands 2017 Future of Retail Holiday Report  demonstrates, and retailers should take heed of these findings to prepare for  the holiday shopping season ahead, which believe it or not is just around the corner.

Technology has completely transformed the way consumers shop, and Walker Sands’ data shows that 41 percent of shoppers completed all or of the majority of their holiday buying online in 2016, and 46 percent now prefer to shop online via desktop, mobile, or voice ordering. That means that retailers need to be aware of these trends and respond accordingly in order to maximize the power of online retail sales.

As the report highlights, “Brands and retailers should understand that with the rise of the connected consumer has come an expectation for a more always-on experience. Focusing on an online interaction that mirrors in-store (and vice versa) will help provide a consistent and convenient experience.”

The report includes three important takeaways:

  • Customers are demanding lower costs, faster speeds and transparent delivery for their orders, but 28 percent feel retailers aren’t meeting their delivery expectations. Half of consumers are willing to pay at least $5 for next-day shipping, so those that don’t offer same-day delivery will miss out on last-minute shopper sales. The report also found that 55 percent of shoppers reported using Amazon Prime in the past year.
  • Digital shoppers are willing to put bigger ticket items in their bags this year – 30 percent of those who did the majority of their holiday shopping online last year reported having spent more than $500 online without seeing an item first and 13 percent have spent more than $1,000 without seeing an item first.
  • Consumers will be using voice-controlled devices to make their holiday purchases this year – 24 percent of self-identified frequent online shoppers ‘often’ or ‘always’ purchase through voice-controlled devices like Amazon Echo. And these numbers could potentially rise, with 44 percent of total survey respondents that are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very likely’ to make a product purchase through a voice-controlled device in the next year.

To best prepare for the reality of 2017’s holiday shoppers, the report concludes, retailers should think now about:

  • Increasing transparency throughout the delivery process, including tracking and delivery date updates.
  • Thinking alternatively about shipping to ensure that orders arrive on time, including in-store pickup or the use of third-party delivery services like Uber or Deliv for the last mile.
  • Ensuring product content and pricing is consistent across all digital touchpoints to provide a convenient and accessible shopping experience.