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How Important Really Is Shipping Speed?

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Many of the world’s largest retailers have recently announced plans to launch same-day or next-day shipping programs for online shoppers – services which typically require pricey investments in facilities, fulfillment staff, customer service and most of all, contracts with expensive carriers that continuously raise their rates.

Naturally, these announcements have struck fear in many smaller and mid-market retailers who know they simply can’t afford to carry out the same policies, and may struggle to compete if they become an industry standard.

But there’s no need to fear! Recent data provides some good news.

Last month, an eMiles poll asked U.S. consumers which factors they consider when deciding where to shop online. Free shipping – not fast – was the single most popular response, with 63 percent of respondents noting it’s the most influential factor that drives where they choose to digitally shop. And although same-day shipping has dominated recent news cycles, just 23 percent of shoppers said “next-day or same-day delivery” sways them to choose one retailer over another.

Similar findings have continually popped up in surveys over the last year. For example, 80 percent of U.S. Internet users said free shipping would encourage them to buy online while only 36 percent said next-day shipping, according to a March Walker Sands Communications study.

The kicker from the eMiles study is that shipping speed ranked way down the list in terms of importance in the eyes of consumers. Shoppers prioritize a whopping 11 other factors over shipping speed. In addition to free shipping, these include details such as reasonable return or refund policies, ease of navigation and website speed.

Free shipping – not fast – was the single most popular response, with 63 percent of respondents noting it’s the most influential factor that drives where they choose to digitally shop.

The greatest takeaway from this data? These 11 other factors are much more attainable (and affordable) for the average company than super-fast shipping. With shoppers prioritizing free shipping by such a wide margin, there’s no need to eat into your marketing or operations budget to deliver purchases at lightning speed. Instead, give shoppers the free shipping services they desire while focusing on smart strategies that can reduce your costs and even help drive revenue.

Through better efficiencies and streamlined processes, any retailer can offset the costs of offering free shipping. An easy, one-stop way to achieve this is by using the services of an experienced carrier – like Deckers did by using Newgistics’ SmartLabel technology.

To learn more about how retailers can offset the costs of free-shipping with Newgistics, please visit www.newgistics.com.

About Tacit Knowledge
Tacit Knowledge is a digital commerce consultancy focused on creating value for our clients by helping them consistently satisfy and delight shoppers across all channels and devices.