Australian consumers now expect brands to offer free returns and free delivery as standard or else it will put them off making a purchase, according to new research from Emarsys.

The research revealed that almost one-fifth (16.4%) of consumers said not having an option for free returns would be enough to put them off buying a product they are interested in — more than any other factor. For 14% of consumers, not having free delivery was the biggest deal breaker.

Long delivery windows are also a critical turn off for consumers, with 9.4% of shoppers put off from a purchase if the delivery time is more than three days. Another 9.4% of consumers will avoid a particular brand if it lacks an online presence.

Having a variety of payment and pick-up options available is also important with a lack of payment plans, layby, as well as click and collect options causing 4.8% and 4.7% of consumers respectively to desert a purchase.

Emarsys’ latest research closely correlates to its previous research on Black Friday shopping behaviours in September.

When consumers were asked what would encourage them to shop online during Black Friday, the strongest motivation was free delivery, with 59% of consumers claiming this was a top influence. Other powerful motivators included free returns (15%) and speed of delivery (18%).

“As our research demonstrates, a poor delivery and returns experience has become a major deal breaker for most consumers. And the importance of the delivery experience will continue to rise as online shopping becomes more popular than ever,” Emarsys managing director for Asia Pacific, Adam Ioakim said.

“Customers want to see, feel and feel comfortable with their purchase, and sometimes it’s not what they expect. Therefore, brands should see returns as an opportunity to better understand their customers and further improve both the in-store and online experience.”