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Delivery on demand

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For a growing number of consumers, delivery has become the first - not last - concern as they make their online shopping decisions.

New research from UPS and comScore reveals that delivery options are increasingly important in creating satisfied online shoppers and are even driving purchasing decisions. Today, winning in retail is about providing convenience and control for consumers.

“Online shoppers around the world all said they would like more flexibility to choose their delivery date.”

According to the second UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Global Study, of the 19,000 online shoppers that took the survey, 38% are looking for delivery locations other than their home. Even a higher percentage of urban dwellers prefer deliveries to alternate locations. Moreover, 41% said they have used ship-to-store options to pick up their packages and 44% have made additional purchases while in the store waiting for their package.

"Flex shoppers" is a term we coined during the research to describe the fast-growing group of who like to mix retail channels (stores and online) and devices (computer, tablet and smartphone) when researching and purchasing products. Retailers wanting to be successful with flex shoppers will make providing more delivery options a priority.

When it comes to flex shoppers, retailers need to be aware of three key things: Flex shoppers want their package where they want it, when they want it, but they are willing to compromise to make that happen.

Global Considerations

In Asia, Brazil and Mexico, almost half of online shoppers prefer to have their orders delivered to locations other than their homes. Some prefer an authorized pickup location or delivery locker. In the U.S., almost one in four shoppers prefer delivery to locations other than their home.

Our research shows the most popular alternate delivery locations are local retail locations, the consumer's office or the local outlet of their carrier, such as The UPS Store.

Few companies have been a part of historic retail trends, such as e-commerce growth and alternate delivery preferences, as deeply as UPS has. We started our business in retail in 1907 and have been evolving with retailers ever since.

One of the latest examples of UPS's business evolution is the UPS Access PointTM Network. These alternate delivery locations give consumers convenient options that fit their busy lifestyles. The only thing consumers dislike more than missing a package is having to rearrange their lives to retrieve it.

UPS Access Point locations are local businesses, primarily neighborhood convenience stores and dry cleaners, with evening and weekend hours. Consumers also can drop off pre-labeled and prepaid return packages during the store's hours. The network, with the broadest integrated cross-border footprint in Europe, is now available in New York City and Chicago and will expand to other U.S. metropolitan markets this year.

Controlling Delivery

Consumers also want more flexibility and control over when they get their packages. Online shoppers around the world all said they would like more flexibility to choose their delivery date.

We've seen evidence of this trend in the growing popularity of UPS My Choice(R). More than 15 million consumers around the world use the service to reroute packages, change delivery dates or electronically sign for a package. Members also have the ability to send qualifying shipments directly to a UPS Access Point location as their preferred delivery address.

Customers also want flexibility when it comes time to return goods they don't want. Being able to return a delivered item at a nearby retail store is a big plus across markets.

The Compromise

Our studies have shown that customers are actually willing to wait longer for their package-especially if that means discounted or free shipping. However, outside of the U.S., other markets worldwide tend to expect shorter deliveries.

In order to receive free shipping customers in Europe will wait an average of three additional days, customers in Asia, Mexico and the U.S. will wait an additional four days and customers in Brazil will wait an additional seven days. This means retailers may have a wider window to get their products to consumers than they originally expected.

It's also important to note that the majority of all customers will take an action to qualify for free shipping. Customers across all markets are likely to purchase put additional items in their carts in order to get this perk. This is a great opportunity for retailers to sell more items while improving the customer experience.

Looking Ahead

The retail industry is more competitive than ever before. Retailers that get it right in delivery aren't just solving a logistics challenge. They're taking customer service to the next level to get ahead in a highly competitive marketplace.

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Longitudes explores and navigates the trends reshaping the global economy and the way we’ll live in the world of tomorrow: logistics, technology, e-commerce, trade and sustainability. Which path will you take?

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