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The psychology of delivery

The psychology of delivery

Our level of personal satisfaction aligns directly with our expectations. Continually setting them low is therefore a temptation but one that ultimately comes down to whether we are a glass-half-full or half-empty person.

Me? Well, generally I like to think of myself as an optimist. My expectations are, as a rule, quite high. And yes, this leads to disappointment, but there’s one particular area where I like to think they are realistic — delivery.

If I order something online and think that delivery will show up by a particular date, that’s when it should arrive. And not a moment later.

For more information or to download the full 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper research report, visit ups.com/pulse.

The final mile

But like most people, there’s another aspect of delivery baked into my expectations — I don’t want to pay for it.

I mean, for goodness sake, they should be thankful for my business, right? Thankful that I’m not shopping elsewhere. So, then charging me for actually delivering the goods seems a little rich!

However, the final mile is one of the most important features in every e-commerce business, which stresses its correlation with consumer behavior. Many online businesses offer free delivery with certain conditions, promoting the incentive if you buy specific items or if you purchase by a particular date.

“For brands and retailers, an integral part of their 2020 plan must involve final mile delivery. Why? Because it defines brands.”

Calculating risk

“Free delivery” is attractive for consumers because it eliminates risk. As humans, we naturally have a loss-aversion principle embedded in our thinking.

It’s fine for the other party to bear the risk, but don’t even think of sharing it with me!

We also exhibit something known as regret aversion. This is when we get anxious our decision will appear wrong in hindsight. Passing on the delivery cost to someone else mitigates that risk.

“Delivery flexibility, especially when coupled with flexible returns, is a great psychological tool to bolster sales.”

It’s about control

A few years ago, it seemed every Tom, Dick and Harry had a “2020 plan.” And as we move rapidly toward 2020, I wonder how many will see the light of day and how many will continue to gather dust.

For brands and retailers, an integral part of their 2020 plan must involve final mile delivery. Why? Because it defines brands.

The 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, which analyzed the outcome of more than 18,000 interviews globally, found that delivery is not just important — it’s vital for success for any online business.

Online shoppers don’t just want transparency of (any) fees, they want control of the delivery process. This will increasingly become more important as the ever-demanding consumer of today exercises that control more frequently, whether it be changing the delivery date, time or location.

Bolstering sales

Delivery flexibility, especially when coupled with flexible returns, is a great psychological tool to bolster sales.

It’s easier to bring customers from a position known as status quo bias — not purchasing because of deliberation costs — to making a purchase when you offer flexible and seamless delivery.

And if it happens to be included in the price — even better!

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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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