IMRG and MetaPack have released data suggesting that next-day delivery is becoming the go-to option for many online shoppers. 2016 saw 31% of customers choose this mode of delivery, up from 26.8% the year before, while the use of economy services declined from 45.5% in 2015 to 38.9% last year. These are signs of an ever-greater impatience among eCommerce shoppers that brings particular challenges for supply chain management.
Customers coming to prioritise speed over price
Head of e-logistics at IMRG, Andrew Starkey, attributed the trend in part to many retailers prominently advertising next-day delivery on their homepages as a customer attraction and retention measure. Meanwhile, Chris Hoskin – Head of Marketing at MetaPack – said that online shoppers were increasingly regarding next-day delivery as a standard rather than premium service.
However, he also warned that retailers:
“now, more than ever before, have to balance the costs and operational implications of managing a reliable next-day service with meeting customer demands
Indeed, while the rising popularity of this more expensive delivery option may seem to spell good news for retailers attempting to recoup the overheads incurred by providing free fulfilment options to their customers, there does not seem to be a willingness among shoppers to match the cost of such speedy delivery.
For example, research has indicated that for same-day delivery to become mainstream, the most that shoppers are prepared to pay for it is £4.
What do these findings say about future delivery trends?
If, as indicated by such recent market studies as those above, customers are being driven to make ever-faster delivery choices when ordering online, what might the next paradigm shift be in delivery service offerings? Is it realistic for retailers to gear up for timed next-day and even same-day pack and despatch services when the most that consumers have said they would pay for this type of functionality simply isn’t enough to make it feasible?
Such contradictions also beg the question of whether this is where subscription services such as Amazon’s Prime and Boohoo Premier could come into their own. Certainly, with the likes of Amazon and House of Fraser now offering same-day delivery – the former within the hour – and Uber and Deliveroo making retail delivery a key target for growth, it seems that beyond simply next-day or same-day delivery, it could actually be instant delivery that soon becomes the new norm.