How delivery options can change the game for e-tailers
E-tailers can improve cart conversion rates by offering multiple high-quality delivery options.
To win customers’ trust, e-tailers should focus on speed and visibility, including features like guaranteed shipping times and “track and trace”.
Logistics service providers can offer immediate access to a range of delivery methods, including newer ones like parcel lockers and drop-offs at retail stores.
In today’s highly competitive markets, every smart e-tailer wants to grab every opportunity they can to improve conversions – and avoid losing customers between shopping cart and payment. That is something which more control over when, where, and how shipments get delivered can provide.
“The need for speed is important for every commodity, and not only restricted to high value goods,” says Andy Lim, Vice-President, Sales Development and E-commerce, DHL Express Asia Pacific. “As a side effect of offering an express shipping solution, e-tailers have seen an increase in basket value.”
According to DHL’s latest report about cross-border e-commerce, businesses which offer express shipping options grow 60% faster than those who only offer standard deferred shipping. In a sector where rapid growth often translates into an unassailable market advantage, those offering a range of e-commerce delivery options can make or break the long-term prospects for any e-tailer.
Beyond the need for speed
Even then, faster shipping options only cater to a certain subset of consumers. While the Spice Trade report found that 37% of consumers view speed as a major point of differentiation when they shop online, reliability of e-commerce parcel delivery also influences their choices. 22% look for guaranteed delivery times (as opposed to simply shorter ones) when deciding whether to buy or not, while 17% value the option to “track and trace” orders as they progress from seller to destination. And the value of multiple-choice delivery models will only continue to grow: according to research conducted by Metapack on the state of e-commerce delivery, 68% of millennials will select an online store just because it offers more delivery options.
“When consumers shop online, they often want their purchases to arrive as soon as possible, perhaps for an urgent need or for an important special occasion. says Lim. “By offering a range of delivery options that address issues like order visibility, unexpected delays, and the quality that goods arrive in, you’re sending a clear signal to potential customers that you care as much about the reliability of your logistics as they do.”
Therefore, the more e-tailers do to cultivate a reputation for reliable shipments, the more likely they are to see their customer base grow over time.
Apart from listing various shipping options for consumers to select, e-tailers can improve conversion by clearly explaining their returns policy well before the checkout point. Doing so will assuage the trust issues that cross-border consumers – nearly 1 in 5 of them – have with buying from overseas sources. A rigorously-defined returns policy not only improves merchants’ reputations and sales volumes, but also reduces disputes over returns which can ruin customer experience and lose sales.
Delivery options provide flexibility
All this can seem like a huge burden for e-tailers, particularly smaller businesses who lack the dedicated personnel to manage multiple types of deliveries and returns to numerous markets. Nearly 3 in 4 e-commerce merchants worldwide struggle to offer additional delivery options because of their cost, while logistical complexity hinders 2 in 3 from doing so. The solution? Outsource the delivery process to experts in logistics.
“Get a trusted e-commerce delivery manager to sit the multiple-choice delivery test in your place,” Lim advises. “Those who specialize in higher-end services such as international door-to-door delivery by a specific time will be able to meet your more demanding customers’ requirements. DHL, for example, covers a variety of delivery options including parcel lockers and delivery to its network of retail outlet partners.”
Last-mile delivery options also let e-tailers rapidly add or remove delivery options without capital costs or IT compatibility issues. “All you have to do is select which services you wish to offer consumers, and they’re instantaneously available to you,” Lim explains. “And once your online order and payments platforms are integrated with the logistics provider’s, it only takes a few tweaks to your front-end to make those new delivery options available to customers.”
That makes multiple choice e-commerce delivery models – and the higher conversions and growth they provide – far easier and cost-effective to activate than most e-tailers might otherwise believe. “Don’t confuse e-commerce with rocket science,” says Lim. “A few simple changes to your shopping cart process, plus a trustworthy logistics provider with global reach, will help you ace the multiple-choice delivery test posed by your potential customers.”