Four in 10 Australians (40%) say small and large businesses offer the same standard of product and service, while half (51%) believe boutique businesses offer higher quality products and services, according to new research from parcel delivery service, CouriersPlease (CP).

The research has uncovered how small retailers successfully pivoted their customer service focus with one in two Australian consumers loving the service and quality from the small players. Large retailers, on the other hand, continued to impress with more competitive prices and faster service.

Respondents were also asked to rate small and large businesses in terms of their key service strengths, from a list of six options. Nearly three quarters (72%) said small retailers offer a more personalised service that is more human-centred and makes them feel valued and important.

Just over half (53%) said small retailers go further to resolve customer issues, while more than one-third (39%) said they communicate with customers more frequently. On the other hand, consumers prefer the scale that larger retailers can bring, with 84% of respondents stating they love the lower prices, better sales and faster service.

As the retail industry increasingly shifts online, the importance of creating a positive customer journey has never been higher. Over 50% of Australian consumers have discovered new shopping behaviours, trying new brands, websites and retailers, according to a recent McKinsey survey.

In the CP survey, respondents were also asked for their opinion on smaller courier services versus larger parcel delivery companies. Just over half (53%) of Australians believe smaller courier companies offered a superior service.

CP chief commercial officer, Paul Roper said the past year has highlighted the importance of a positive customer journey and seamless customer experience, while prices and service speed are mainstays of the online shopping experience.

“In a world with increased uncertainty and disrupted international delivery chains, consumers find themselves looking to their local retailers. We have been proud to support them and look forward to helping them build positive customer relationships as we recover from these challenging times,” he said.

“It’s a good idea for retailers, big or small, to partner with a carrier that is an extension of their own service philosophy. Retailers wishing to attract and retain customers could also consider improving their ecommerce offering by outsourcing delivery-related services – such as returns and ‘click and collect’ – to a carrier partner that has innovated strongly in this area.”