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Logistics & Fulfilment

Free shipping a deal maker, study finds

A new study examining consumer preferences around shipping has revealed the importance of fast and free options for today’s online shoppers.

The study was conducted by e-commerce platform Big Commerce and included responses from nearly 3000 digital consumers and 800 online merchants in Australia, the US and UK.

It found that free shipping is a deal maker for Australian consumers, with four out of five Aussie customers saying they’ve made a purchase from a retailer due to free shipping.

Four out of five also said they’ve added items to their cart to meet a minimum order total to receive free shipping in the past 12 months, and one of out of five said they’d give up their daily coffee to get free shipping.

For some, however, speed is most important. Three out of five Australian survey respondents said they’d be willing to pay an extra $20 for overnight shipping.

“In Australia, we are seeing that online shoppers are more willing to pay extra for overnight shipping,” said Shannon Ingrey, APAC vice president and general manager at Big Commerce.

“This is likely due to our geography, Amazon’s limited time in the market, and the scarcity of options available for free express shipping.”

When shipping options are lacking, consumers simply go elsewhere. The study found 71 per cent of Australian respondents have made a conscious decision not to purchase something online because of the limited shipping options available. 

Roughly half, 51 per cent, said they have stopped shopping with an online retailer due to a negative shipping experience.

Despite retailers’ growing uptake of environmentally-friendly and sustainable shipping parcels, most consumers aren’t thinking of the environment when they shop online, the study found.

Almost half of Australian survey respondents (44 per cent) said they don’t stop to consider the environmental impact of shipping when shopping online, compared to 29 per cent of those in the UK and 40 per cent of those in the US.

On the upside, over half (57 per cent) said they often or almost always recycle packaging, compared to 60 per cent of  those in the US and 65 per cent in the UK. 

Along the same lines, consumers aren’t impressed by branded packaging. Half of consumers surveyed are indifferent, saying it neither detracts from nor enhances their online shopping experience.

One in five would prefer to receive their online shopping order in brand-neutral packaging, and over 60 per cent would prefer to have items shipped in their original packaging to offset potential environmental impacts of shipping.

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