Fast and free delivery: What online shoppers really want

One of the biggest discussion points was ‘fast and free’ delivery – a trend that has been a focal point for many retailers in recent years. 

As the label on the tin suggests, ‘fast and free’ is quick delivery (such as next day) with no cost. Sure, this sounds nice from a consumer point of view, but do shoppers really expect this, and is it a sustainable way to get items to your customers? 

What we discovered from listening to the retail experts presenting at IMRG's Delivery Summit, was that consumers are more interested in convenience than fast and free delivery. While it may sound impressive and tempting, it isn’t sustainable - neither from a financial nor an environmental perspective. 

Is ‘free’ delivery ever really free?  

Sure, there are of course ecommerce shoppers out there who want ‘fast and free’ delivery, and it seems that this is more often the case with lower value purchases. But fast can never really be completely free; There’s always a cost, and for some online retailers, that means upping the price of a product itself in order to incorporate the cost of delivery.  

What do online shoppers really want when it comes to delivery? 

According to carrier management experts GFS, if consumers have plenty of options, they don’t necessarily want fast and free delivery, they just want to know when their item will arrive – and that it will arrive on time. Keeping them up to date on the status of their order with push notifications is a great way to ensure they understand where their item is at every stage of the journey.  

How do you ensure a successful delivery? 

So, your customer has bought a great item from you and selected a delivery to suit them, you have told them you will be delivering it on a specific date, and you are going to keep them updated on its delivery progress. But are you sure you have captured their address correctly?  

If the address data in your database is poor, your courier won’t be able to find your customer, who, consequently, will experience a late or failed delivery. This leads to high costs (think re-delivery, refunds, discounts and vouchers to appease shoppers) dissatisfied customers and negative brand reputation (if your customers are unhappy, they will tell their friends, family and their social media audience).  

In Loqate’s study Fixing Failed Deliveries, we discovered that one in 20 deliveries is not delivered on the first attempt, and that 65% of retailers across the UK, US and Germany say late or failed deliveries are a significant cost to their business.  

So, how do you fix this? Type-ahead address verification is a great way to overcome this issue as it ensures you capture only clean and accurate address data in your checkout forms – even if your customer makes a typo.  

Because Loqate only partners with trusted postal operators, including Royal Mail, USPS and Canada Post, the address data that enters your database will be valid and accurate, helping improve your online delivery rates and customer satisfaction.  

Research from GFS shows that 62% of consumers would buy from a retailer again if they had a good delivery experience, so getting it right first time is essential.  

So, it doesn’t need to be fast or free, it just needs to be convenient – and this can only happen if your address data allows you to deliver effectively.  

Find out more about how Loqate can help you deliver to the right address first time.