How delivery options affect basket abandonment

3 Aug 2016 4 min read

To some degree, shopping basket abandonment is impossible to avoid. However, research has suggested that offering a wide range of delivery options, appealing to customers’ diverse needs and growing expectations, could go some way to reducing the chances of basket abandonment.

According to the Delivery Matters report from Royal Mail, women and older shoppers are more likely to abandon their shopping carts than men, while young people tend to browse online before buying in-store. In general, though, fewer shoppers are abandoning their cart – in 2015, 21% of people abandoned their cart, down 12% from 2014, which is great news for online retailers.

The report also looked into the key factors driving basket abandonment and found delivery charges were the most common. More than half of people shopping online expected free delivery, with 4 in 10 claiming they would look elsewhere if they found a better deal.

Communication of delivery options

Streamlining the online checkout process is an effective method for reducing the chances of shopping basket abandonment. There are a number of ways in which this could be achieved – in particular, by better communicating delivery options throughout the browsing process.

Online retailers should consider how prominently delivery options are presented on their websites, and how easily customers can determine if products will arrive on time. Being upfront and clear about delivery options and any associated charges is essential, reducing the chances of surprises later on in the checkout process.

According to the Delivering Consumer Choice report from Meta Pack, 66% of consumers said they would purchase goods from one retailer over another because of the delivery options available – so brands with something extra to offer should make sure this is communicated. It also revealed that 49% of people had even paid more for better or more convenient delivery options.

The website of luxury retailer Fortnum and Mason is one example of how brands should present delivery options, with charges clearly laid out on every product page.

Convenient delivery

The Total Retail research report by PwC explored the reasons why consumers might choose to shop online over a bricks-and-mortar store. Convenience was an overarching driver for shopping online, with respondents highlighting the ability to shop 24/7 and the fact there was no need to visit a physical store as two of their key motivators.

It seems, then, that online retailers should provide delivery options that customers are proven to find most convenient if they wish to reduce the risk of basket abandonment.

Speedy delivery

Although free delivery is often a desirable offering for online shoppers, when it comes to convenience, it’s all about speed. Indeed, the Meta Pack Delivering Consumer Choice report found that 86% of consumers looked for fast delivery. It also found that 80% preferred to have a given time slot for their delivery, while 83% wanted a guaranteed delivery date.

It’s no surprise, then, that eCommerce leaders are constantly developing their offerings to support customers’ needs – for example, Amazon’s Prime service, where customers pay a membership fee for unlimited next-day delivery.

That said, low cost is certainly an important factor for consumers, with the Consumer Trends Report from software company Kibo finding that 62% of UK shoppers spent less than £5 a month on delivery. The study also found that 56% of UK shoppers would switch to a rival online store if their preferred delivery method was not available.

Staying ahead of the curve

A study by Deloitte suggested the retail industry would begin to move faster as retailers endeavoured to meet the growing expectations of consumers. The report highlighted the increasing demand for same-day delivery, stating that the delivery window would become even narrower.

These growing expectations are leading to consumers wanting delivery services at no cost – according to the Kibo report, one-third expect same-day delivery completely free of charge. Clearly, being able to provide a convenient delivery experience with the right partner is crucial for any retailer looking to offer the best customer service.

A Final Word

In terms of what online retailers can learn from studies into consumer behaviour, it seems that, above all, customers want delivery options that are fast, cheap (if not free) and clearly communicated. In fact, communication is vital to preventing shopping basket abandonment – so if sellers want to keep consumers engaged throughout the checkout process, they should feature information about their options at key points in the online shopping journey.

Parcelforce Worldwide has a range of UK and international delivery services offering retailers of all sizes the perfect balance of speed and price. Find out more about opening a Parcelforce Worldwide account.

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