Whether it’s damage, loss, or porch piracy — last-mile anxieties are increasing for shoppers and merchants alike. In 2022, an estimated 260 million delivered packages were stolen in the U.S., according to a report from SafeWise—up from 210 million the year prior.
As such, free and two-day shipping are no longer the eCommerce “holy grail” options they once were. Now, 80 percent of online shoppers want personalization perks, according to a report from UPS Capital Insurance Agency Inc. Consumers want control and choice over their post-purchase experience, and most (69 percent) are willing to pay for services that provide those elements. This allows consumers to dictate delivery arrivals, purchase insurance to ensure packages arrive safely, track packages in real-time, and more, while increasing probability for the merchant.
Having More Control Over Arrival Dates
‘Free’ and ‘fast’ are no longer the words consumers use to describe their ideal shipping experience. Now, it’s about having ‘control.’ In the same report as above, 72 percent of consumers stated that picking their exact package arrival date is the most important perk of the personalized shipping experience. By having the option to choose, this ensures they’ll be around to collect their order promptly—without having to wait on standby—and dissipates the worry that a porch pirate may steal it.
Customer satisfaction aside, fulfillment costs have increased exponentially in recent years, so for many, free, two-day shipping could potentially mean losing profit. This has sparked a trend within the industry to offer the choice of cheaper, attainable delivery dates in lieu of rapid fulfillment. For example, Saks OFF 5th recently introduced “Guaranteed Delivery Date,” allowing customers to select the delivery date and accompanying cost option that best suits their shopping needs (i.e., faster delivery comes at a premium price). Not only does this make for a more controlled and transparent shipping experience for the customer to meet their needs, but it reduces costs for the merchant at the same time.
Electing Shipping Protection at Check Out
Consumers wanting more choices go beyond dictating package arrival times. They’re also actively seeking options to protect the items they buy online given today’s risk landscape. Market headwinds, including supply chain disruption and inflation, can not only test the limits of customer loyalty but threaten business reputations.
Despite shipping mishaps being largely outside of the merchant’s control, the same report found that 66 percent of consumers will leave a negative review if their package never arrives or arrives damaged.
By offering consumers the option to add and pay for shipping protection at check-out, they get the peace of mind of receiving guaranteed replacement in the event of damage, loss, or porch-pirated theft. And this isn’t just a win for consumers. Elected insurance protects merchants’ reputation and bottom line by ensuring their customer needs will be met—avoiding bad reviews—and transferring the cost of remedying what goes wrong to the customer vs. making it a loss to the business.
Increasing Visibility from “Store” to Door
For consumers, a lack of shipment visibility, post-purchase, can be frustrating. A strong post-purchase experience doesn’t just mean making sure their purchase arrives. It’s important for consumers to be able to follow their shipment’s journey and have transparency into where their package is and when exactly it will be delivered. Or, in the event of a delay in transit, they have up-to-date information into what happened instead of being left in the dark.
The merchants that recognize this need in the market and provide a solution will stand out from the competition, as providing customers access to this level of insight will enhance their loyalty and trust to the brand. Beyond that, it can help offload the merchant’s customer support team with requests asking about the status of packages, freeing them up to better help other customers in need.
Personalized Shipping Delivers for Customers and Merchants
A first-class customer experience comprises the entire buyer’s journey — from browsing product pages to checking out to getting goods delivered. Businesses that recognize this and deliver personalized shipping experiences will stand out from competitors, earn greater customer loyalty, and improve their reputation and bottom line.