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Survey: Consumer Home Delivery Preferences

by Sifted Team

Jun 18, 2024

9 min read

In the eCommerce landscape, the way brands interact with their customers is evolving. While optimized store layouts and friendly employees are still important, more are investing in sleek websites and digital advertising as online sales rise. In many cases, a customer picking up the package on their doorstep is the only physical interaction they’ll have with a brand. It’s crucial to make this experience the best it can be.

But what exactly do online shoppers prefer with home deliveries?

Sifted surveyed 500 U.S. consumers to discover this. Here’s what we found, plus some strategies to enhance your customer’s shipping experience.

 

#1: Shipping Cost is Online Shopper’s Top Consideration

Every consumer is unique, and will weigh factors differently when shopping online.

But across the board, what factors are the most important?

Here’s what we found:

#1: Shipping Cost
#2: Positive Reviews
#3: Price of Item

We asked consumers how important certain factors are when considering an online purchase, rating each on a scale of 1-4 (1 being “Not Very Important,” 4 being “Very Important). Based on the percentage who selected 2 or higher, these emerged as the top items.

“Shipping Cost” is a clear focus of consumers, as it had the highest individual percentage of “4 – Very Important,” (50.6%), and the lowest percentage of “Not Important,” (6.2%).

The importance of Shipping Cost to consumers is on the rise, too. In a similar survey just a year ago in 2023, “Price of Item” was ranked as #1, and “Shipping Cost”

Further evidence that consumers place the highest value on cheap shipping emerged when we asked consumers to choose between price and speed.

When asked if they generally prefer a package be shipped to them faster, or for a lower cost:

  • 32% preferred speed
  • 68% preferred a lower cost

The “Amazon Effect” has grown the expectation for two-day shipping, and if ⅓ of your customers prefer speed, you should still offer Express services. However, offering a cheaper, slower option will still win over most people.

 

#2: Home Delivery is Still King

Parcel lockers, Buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), and even dedicated delivery rooms in smart homes have all risen in recent years, riding the greater eCommerce wave.

As the term “porch pirate” has entered the lexicon, are more consumers turning to these secure options, or do they still prefer the convenience of a delivery at their doorstep?

We asked what type of delivery location is preferred for online purchases, based on the value of the item. Here’s what we found:

There’s a lot to unpack here – especially when comparing the ends of each spectrum.

Starting with the cheaper packages, many will be surprised to learn nearly 1 in 5 want their items delivered somewhere secure. If your brand has brick and mortar stores, or can partner with someone who does, consider adding a BOPIS option to appeal to this group.

Moving to more expensive packages, a shift (even a minor one) towards favoring secure deliveries is expected. Over 1 in 3 consumers want items worth $250 or more delivered securely. If a majority of your products fall in this price range, BOPIS or other secure delivery options are becoming non-negotiable for your customers.

 

#3: Multiple Shipping Options Can Increase Sales

There’s a reason that ice cream evolved beyond the three flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry – consumers want choices. And who doesn’t like an ice cream analogy in the summer? ;)

eCommerce shipping is no different.

34% of our survey respondents indicated that they’re more likely to complete a purchase when given multiple shipping options. Another 40% said that they like having multiple options, but it doesn’t necessarily impact their decision to purchase.

Combined, these show that 74% – nearly 3 out of every 4 – want multiple options.

On the other side, only 9% said multiple options makes them less likely to purchase.

The takeaway? While most prefer a few shipping options, you shouldn’t overwhelm your customers with too many.

It’s all about balance. Show them 2-3 different speeds and price points – not the name of each carrier’s individual service.

 

#4: Good Delivery Experiences Create Repeat Customers

The final, and perhaps most powerful insight for eCommerce brands is just how frequently good delivery experiences lead to repeat customers.

72% of respondents said that a good delivery or packaging experience has led them to purchase again from a brand – over 7 out of every 10 online shoppers!

For the most frequent online shoppers, nailing their shipping experience can have even bigger payoffs. Of those who receive five or more packages a month, 77% have purchased again after a great delivery.

So what should eCommerce companies do with this information?

First, focus on what parts of the shipping process you can control: packaging and communication.

Packaging is important to your shoppers. For many, “unboxing” has become an experience, and is even a popular genre of content on social media. High quality and custom-branded packaging materials can set your brand apart.

Second, clear, consistent communication throughout the delivery process keeps your customers up-to-date on when to expect their package. Most appreciate being able to track packages on their own (85% in our survey said they value consistent tracking), so delivering updates to their inbox throughout the process can make it even easier for them.

 

Data’s Role in Home Delivery Optimization

Ultimately, most of the delivery process is out of a brand’s hands – and in their carriers’. This is where it’s crucial to track data such as on-time performance, damaged claims, and any relevant returns data. With this, you can have better conversations with your carrier on how you both can improve to work better together, and it can even provide leverage in your next negotiation.

FBA vs FBM

The #1 Logistics Intelligence Software

Sifted’s Logistics Intelligence software can bring this data to light. With Sifted, you can easily view your carrier’s on-time performance, compare your average transit times to industry peers, uncover an over-reliance on Express shipping, and much more.

With these insights, you can achieve faster delivery speeds and lower transportation costs – outcomes that your customers will enjoy.

 

Topics

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