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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : May 25, 2012

Consumers willing to wait longer for purchases delivered free

Research by business consulting company AlixPartners found that consumers don't mind longer delivery times when the shipping is free.

by Helen Leggatt

When AlixPartners surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults about their attitudes towards the cost of online delivery over a third (36%) said that high costs were the reason they didn't shop online.

The cost of shipping was second only to the inability to try out or touch/feel a product (37%) before purchasing online.

Free shipping is an obvious attraction to online shoppers and 95% of those surveyed by AlixPartners say it impacts their purchase decisions - 64% say it greatly impacts their buying decision and 31% say it somewhat impacts their behavior.

For businesses the challenge is to find the break-point and avoid swallowing up all their margins when offering free shipping.

Another interesting finding is that shoppers who are offered free shipping are happy to wait longer for their items to be delivered. Three-quarters were willing to wait at least five days for an ecommerce order to arrive if they got free shipping (75%) and some would even be willing to wait a full week (50%). Other consumers responded as follows:

- 12% said they'd wait just four days for an order shipped free of charge;
- 9% would wait up to three days;
- 4% would wait up to two days.

According to AlixPartners, "This puts logistics front and center in driving sales: those who find ways to address these consumer concerns and drive purchases may unlock significant growth opportunities."

Tags: consumer behavior, delivery fee, delivery options, ecommerce, online shopping, purchase process

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