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Price over speed: Customers prioritise free delivery when shopping, says report

Free delivery is a powerful motivator for customers, encouraging them to buy more and join loyalty programmes, according to a new report.

The research by UPS, which surveyed online shoppers in 15 countries and regions, including Europe, North America, Asia and South America, found that delivery had a major impact on buying decisions.

Thirty-six percent of customers were willing to add items to a cart to qualify for free delivery and 25% were willing to join a loyalty programme.

The report also showed 41% of customers choosing to abandon carts if the cost of delivery was higher than anticipated. 26% reported abandoning carts if the estimated delivery time was too long and 23% if the item was not going to be delivered in time.

Consumers showed they would often prioritise cost over speed when choosing delivery options, with 51% willing to choose cheaper but slower shipping alternatives. 38% were willing to take incentives for slower shipping such as account credit, 35% would consolidate multiple items into a single delivery and 32% would be interested in accepting a gift or prepaid card.

The report found that 59% of consumers preferred to track through a carrier’s website and 43% of consumers through a retailer’s website. 56% of consumers actively tracked all of their deliveries, while 38% tracked at least some deliveries.

It highlighted the importance of returns with 36% of respondents having returned an item within the last three months. Around 63% shipped returns back to the company while 30% returned items to a store.

In terms of reasons for returning items, 30% did so because they were faulty or damaged, 27% because they were not as described or of poor quality, while 20% was because they had ordered more than one of an item.