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    Tracking Suits You: Trends in Shipping and Delivery Among Shoppers

    8 minute read
    Tracking Suits You: Trends in Shipping and Delivery Among Shoppers

    Ever feel like somebody’s watching you? 

    While omnipresent surveillance might evoke the plots of dystopian works like “1984” or “Brave New World,” they often tell a much different story in an ecommerce context. Rather than being a terrifying Big Brother, these tools provide essential features that foster trust and efficiency with your online customers.

    Modern shoppers increasingly appreciate the comfort and convenience of robust digital tracking tools that allow them to watch the progress of their eagerly awaited packages.

    Below, we’ll explore how adapting to shifting shipping trends and consumer expectations can help brands delight and retain their customers and create a more engaging and satisfying shopping experience.

    Consumer Expectations for Shipping Updates and Order Tracking

    In late 2023, shipping software company Shippo surveyed around 2,000 retailers and shoppers in the apparel, food, jewelry, and electronics spaces. Their findings confirm that consumer expectations for regular shipping updates are growing.

    Nearly 70% of shoppers say they want notifications when their product ships, and about half report they’d like a heads up when their product is delivered too.

    Many consumers are filling the Big Brother role themselves, with 39% saying they check the progress of their shipped products at least once a day.

    The demand for a detailed order-tracking experience is strong. Fortunately, brands have a few different opportunities for meeting this demand. Consider which stages of the shipping process are relevant to your customers — dispatch, potential delays, stops along the route, ready-to-ship, and final delivery — as well as the channels they use most (for example, email or text).

    Then, communicate clearly and consistently at these stages and through these channels. Doing so will not only elevate your customer experience but also help drive the sort of trust that’s essential in a long-term brand-online shopper relationship. 

    The Convenient Lure of Free Shipping and Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS)

    Some of the best things in life are, in fact, free.

    Free shipping continues to act as a powerful draw in the online shopping world: A majority (62%) of Shippo survey respondents note they tend to bypass retailers who don’t offer the perk. Another 42% of shoppers said they’d be motivated to join a loyalty program (e.g., Amazon Prime) if free shipping was included in their membership.

    The popularity of free shipping also coincides with another price-conscious convenience: free buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) services.

    PYMNTS report found that 37% more U.S. consumers used this option in 2022 versus 2021, with curbside pickup services in particular showing a 66% growth year over year.

    That’s six times the growth rate for in-store pickup during the same period. On top of that, customers using in-store pickup are more likely to put a little extra in their cart too.

    Transparency Trends in Shipping Options

    Experienced digital marketers know that today’s shoppers aren’t just buying a product, but carefully scrutinizing their entire shopping journey. They’re weighing important considerations like whether to make a repeat purchase, recommend you to a friend, or (gulp) even abandon their cart.

    As such, being transparent and honest about shipping processes is more important than ever before. For example, one Shopify study found that 32% of customers pass on a purchase when “the estimated shipping time was too long,” and 22% follow suit when “there [is] no guaranteed delivery date.”

    Moreover, package protection and clear return or refund policies stand out as must-haves that perform a great deal of heavy lifting to build trust with and convert customers. When consumers know that their purchases are protected — and that the company's policies are straightforward and fair — they’re more likely to become repeat customers or bring their friends along for the ride. 

    Advancements in Tracking Tech 

    One of the more surprising findings in the data is that customers ordering online today increasingly prefer accuracy over speed.

    Shippo’s research, for example, found that only 10% of customers reported wanting same-day or next-day delivery, down from 18% in 2021. In contrast, 59% of shoppers said they want to receive updates about their delivery throughout the shipping process.

    The takeaway? Customers value accurate and consistent communication about their orders nearly six times more than the speed of their delivery.

    To meet this consumer need and stay competitive, global brands are increasingly adopting advanced tracking technologies. Tools like Route — which revolutionized how consumers track orders — can provide real-time updates and detailed insights into the shipping process, enhancing consumer trust and the overall purchase experience. 

    Leveraging Inventory Management Systems

    When asked about the biggest challenge their businesses face, the number one answer retailers in Shippo’s survey identified was shipping costs. A whopping 41% of retailers, it turns out, struggle with high costs. Luckily, effective inventory management practices offer several strategic solutions.

    By optimizing inventory levels and streamlining warehouse operations, businesses can significantly reduce shipping costs while enhancing overall efficiency. Beyond its organizational value, your approach to inventory management directly impacts shipping costs, overhead, and customer satisfaction with your business.

    Crucially, inventory management is an essential component in maintaining the shifting balance between supply and demand. By predicting consumer trends and stocking products accordingly, businesses can avoid both overstocking and stockouts.

    Again, this proactive approach not only conserves resources but also ensures that customers receive their orders promptly, further bolstering customer trust and loyalty.

    Aligning Your Brand With Prevailing Consumer Winds

    As we've explored, the ecommerce world is evolving, and shipping and delivery trends are rapidly changing. Retailers must align their strategies with consumer shipping preferences that increasingly favor transparency, communication, and cost savings.

    Meeting these evolving expectations can open doors to enhanced customer loyalty and sales growth. Retailers who embrace these trends, invest in technologies like advanced tracking systems, and prioritize customer-centric practices will be well-positioned to thrive amid these shifts in consumer attitudes — now and in the future. 



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    Written by: Chris Caesar

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