Consumers expect to receive products quicker than ever before, as same day or next-day shipping becomes one of the biggest drivers of sales online, according to new research by ChannelAdvisor, a CommerceHub company. Almost three-quarters (73%) of consumers prioritise delivery in fewer than two days when making a purchase online. 

Although willing to spend more for speedy delivery, most consumers are not willing to pay for returns. Over half (54%) of those surveyed felt it was ‘unfair’ if they were to be charged for returning an online purchase. Taking this one step further, nearly two-thirds (65%) stated they would only buy from sites that offer free returns. A complicated returns process also puts off consumers, with 65% saying they’ve given up on sending back an item as it was too time-consuming. 

With cost-of-living still a significant concern for many consumers, price is the ultimate decision-driver, with 98% of shoppers considering it to be an essential factor in their purchasing choices.

In addition to quick delivery, interest in omnichannel options was also strong, with click and collect considered an important factor when buying online for 60% of respondents. 

“Retailers lagging behind on speedy delivery need to re-prioritise. The popularity of near-instant shipping from Amazon has fundamentally shifted consumer expectations around convenience. Quick logistics is no longer a nice-to-have but a baseline necessity that shoppers expect,” CommerceHub managing director for Asia Pacific, Gordana Redzovski said.

“The impact of the returns process is also underappreciated. With two thirds of consumers now insisting on buying from sites that offer free returns, brands must consider their approach. Retailers need to find a balance between satisfying consumer demands and profitability. Having a complex returns process may stop some from completing the return, which is good for the sale, but ultimately bad for the relationship with the customer. 

“As we enter peak season, a period typically associated with increased promotions to drive sales and as such a higher number of returns, retailers should monitor the effectiveness of promotions and the impact on returns processing. 

“By synchronising inventory across platforms retailers can prevent overselling and enhance customer satisfaction. Consolidated inventory management and a powerful data transformation engine contribute to greater operational efficiency and significantly impact a brand or retailer’s shipping speed.

“The growing trend of omnichannel shopping is becoming notably more appealing for consumers. Failing to provide these services could put online sellers at a disadvantage among their competitors. To remain relevant and gain an edge, brands and retailers must fully embrace a fast, flexible and consumer-centric approach.”