Study conducted by UPS and comScore takes deep dive into consumers’ online shipping preferences

As e-commerce continues to become more prevalent and becomes a “go-to” shopping option for consumers, subsequent effects of that figure to impact supply chains in the sense that they might be more consumer-driven in the future. That was one of the main findings of a recent study put out by UPS and comScore.

By ·

As e-commerce continues to become more prevalent and becomes a “go-to” shopping option for consumers, subsequent effects of that figure to impact supply chains in the sense that they might be more consumer-driven in the future. That was one of the main findings of a recent study put out by UPS and comScore.

The study, entitled the “Online Shopping Customer Experience Study,” analyzed data from a comScore survey of more than 3,100 United States-based online shoppers conducted last February.

One of the most notable findings of the study was that even though “online shoppers are generally very satisfied, there is room to improve their satisfaction related to shipping and returns.” Among these things to improve their satisfaction outlined in the report are communicating the expected delivery date of the order and having tracking updates and delivery notifications to understand when a package is arriving.

The study found that 79 percent of its respondents were satisfied with many components of online- and e-commerce-related shipping, including: online tracking capability (79 percent); free/discounted shipping (74 percent); number of shipping options offered (74 percent); clear returns policy (70 percent); ease of making returns/exchanges (65 percent); flexibility to choose delivery date (58 percent); and flexibility to re-route packages (57 percent).

In an interview with LM, UPS Director of Retail Marketing David Sisco said that a clear and cohesive returns policy offered by retailers is something consumers want and need to see before placing an online order.

“They need to have a comfort level in that whatever they purchase, they will have a high confidence level in their ability to return it from a returns and reverse logistics perspective,” he explained.

One of the main overarching themes of the study cited by Sisco was how consumers want more control of the order and shipping process in terms of being cognizant of knowing exactly when they will receive their product, following order placement.

“It is no longer a range of days; it is more specified now, in terms of exactly knowing what date that product will be received,” he said. “Consumers are becoming a little bit more demanding in that area and that requires retailers needing to be prepared to meet their needs.”

Even though 70 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with retailers’ clear returns policies, 33 percent indicated it is an area where improvements can still be made.

Other areas where consumers expressed a need for improvement, included: free/discounted shipping (58 percent); ease of returns/exchanges (42 percent); online tracking ability (38 percent); and number of shipping options (28 percent), among others.

And with consumers looking for more clarification about when they want to receive online orders, there was also some discrepancy in terms of how long they are willing to wait for most purchases, with 5 percent asking for next day; 14 percent at 2-3 days; 29 percent at 4-5 days; 29 percent at 6-7 days; and 23 percent at 8 or more days.

Another interesting—and related—takeaway in the study was focused on shipping options, with the study’s authors noting that online shoppers expect a variety of delivery options to be available.

But there appeared to be a slight difference between the shipping option expected and the shipping option actually chosen most.

For expected shipping options, the study found that consumers want: economy ground in 5-7 days (78 percent); ground in 3-5 days for a nominal fee (60 percent); 2-3 day air for a nominal fee (43 percent); and next-day for a minimal fee (30 percent). And for shipping options most actually chosen, economy ground in 5-7 days was favored by 67 percent of consumers, followed by ground in 3-5 days at 25 percent; 2-3 day air for a nominal fee at 6 percent; and next-day air for a nominal fee at 2 percent.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

E-commerce · Logistics · Shipping · UPS · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Reduce Order Processing Costs by 80%
Sales order automation software will seamlessly transform inbound emailed and printed purchase orders into electronic sales orders that can be automatically processed into your ERP system with 100% accuracy.
Download Today!
From the June 2016 Issue
In the wildly unstable ocean cargo carrier arena, three major consortia are fighting for market share, with some players simply hanging on for survival. Meanwhile, shippers may expect deployment shifts as a consequence of the Panama Canal expansion.
WMS Update: What do we need to run a WMS?
Supply Chain Software Convergence: Synchronization Realized
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Optimizing Global Transportation: How NVOCCs Can Use Technology to Operate More Profitably
Global transportation isn't getting any easier to manage, especially for non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs). Faced with uncertainties like surcharges—but needing to remain competitive when bidding against other providers—NVOCCs need the right mix of historical data, data intelligence, and technology support to make quick and effective decisions. During this webcast you'll learn how Bolloré Transport & Logistics was able to streamline its global logistics and automate contract management.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Details Key to Cross-border Ease
Ever-changing regulations are making it risky for U.S. companies engaged in cross-border trade...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo