Inside Logistics

Free, fast e-commerce delivery driving sales

More than a third of shoppers will add unplanned items to get free shipping

August 9, 2019

MISSISSAUGA – A glitzy website or a modern app aren’t enough to satisfy today’s savvy online shoppers. They demand upfront transparency on fees, control over the delivery process, a clearly-stated returns policy and loyalty rewards, according to new research from the 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study.

Respondents like next-day deliveries, but they will consider other options – such as lower fees or incentives – for slower shipping. Millennial shoppers are more likely to choose accelerated delivery options than other age groups.

Generally, though, online shoppers show a very low appetite for paying for shipping. That’s why they’ll take various actions to obtain free shipping, including adding items to the cart (36 percent), choosing the slowest transit time (32 percent) and searching online for a promo code (32 percent).

Fifty-six per cent of online shoppers track deliveries, with Americans the most likely to be active trackers.

Returning merchandise remains a key demand for online shoppers, with 73 percent of surveyed consumers responding that the returns experience affected whether they would continue shopping with a retailer. Globally, 36 percent of online shoppers returned an item in the previous three months.

Globally, about two-out-of-three shoppers (63 percent) ship returns back to sellers/retailers. This method is the most popular in Europe and Asia-Pacific (APAC), where 67 percent of shoppers ship their returns. Meanwhile, the main reason cited for a poor returns experience is delay in getting a refund (25 percent). Having to pay for a return annoys a significant percentage of consumers (24 percent), as does a delay in receiving an exchange or a replacement item (21 percent).

The 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study captured evolving trends, preferences and expectations of online shoppers in 15 countries and regions, including Canada, the U.S., Asia, Europe,  Mexico, Brazil and, for the first time, India. This latest Pulse examined the generational impact that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers are having on retail trends, offering retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers intelligence that can help them grow and compete globally.

The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study evaluates consumer shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery. The study was conducted in early 2019 and is based on a PwC survey of more than 18,000 online shoppers worldwide. Respondents made at least two online purchase in a typical three-month period.