May 13, 2021
Dropit's US Site Sales Manager Kelly Vignola shares her thoughts on consumer expectations in 2021, and the need for retailers to ensure these expectations are met especially when it comes to fast shipping and maximum customer convenience.
The past few years have witnessed a major shift in customer expectations. Strong customer service is based on many more factors than having a helpful employee working your store. It’s the speed and ease of your website, offering curbside and in-store pick-up, and same-day delivery. Plus, the importance of personalization, stress-free returns, flexible payment methods and flawless customer support. It’s about having all avenues covered at all times. A level of customer convenience that has become the retail new normal. It’s also your competitive edge if your business can follow through.
Our society has come to expect everything to be easier, more convenient, and stress-free. We have meal kits delivered instead of cooking, our daily essentials on auto-refill and we pick up our groceries instead of shopping for them ourselves. In a recent survey by Morning Consult, 54% of Americans highlighted convenience as the most important benefit of grocery delivery and 77% reported saving time as a beneficial advantage.
Critics will start blaming Amazon for this shift since they have offered same-day delivery for many years. In reality, it was inevitable that retailers would need to change the way they look at the shopping experience, especially last-mile delivery. Larger retailers, such as Target and Walmart, adopted this customer-centric approach long before COVID-19. Despite the high demand for same-day delivery, most retailers are falling short of this expectation with just over 50% offering same-day shipping.
Today, shoppers want their parcels to arrive no later than the day after they order, and shopping decisions are made based on shipping times. They want instant gratification, and the dopamine release that follows from opening their package and feeling, touching and wearing their new purchase. Recently, I paid more for the same item due to the fact that one site could deliver the same day versus the 2-5 day standard delivery on another site. And I’m not alone. According to McKinsey research, 53% of American consumers are willing to pay extra for same day delivery. Moreover, more than 25% of shoppers would abandon a cart online if same-day shipping wasn’t available. It’s nothing new that shoppers can be fickle, but fast shipping and quality service is even more important online as eCommerce activity has risen. Shoppers have become accustomed to not waiting anymore. They want it now, and they want it fast.
"25% of shoppers would abandon a cart online if same-day shipping wasn’t available."
For many COVID-19 was unexpected, and yet for the retail industry the pandemic accelerated a shift in consumer behaviour that had already commenced. The businesses that will continue to thrive post-pandemic are those willing to adapt to changing times, and meet their customers where they are.
Same-day delivery is therefore both an immense opportunity and an operational challenge for retailers. At Dropit, we believe in-store fulfillment is an effective solution. Essentially, enabling omnichannel retailers to leverage their network of brick-and-mortar stores to fulfill online orders from the store closest to the customer. The benefits are endless. From optimizing in-store inventory, reducing reliance on warehouses to faster shipping and shorter journey times. Not to mention, the positive environmental impact on the supply chain, shorter last-mile, fewer splits shipments, and reduced packaging wastage.
The question should be not if your business will change, but rather, when. If you want to continue to retain your loyal customers the solution is simple: amplify the shopping experience, leverage your existing network with stores to ship faster, and offer maximum convenience in-store and online - every time.
Ultimately fast delivery options have become a default in today’s world of retail. Afterall, it is not only something consumers want, it’s what they expect.
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