The delivery method is a crucial criterion for the success of your online store. It can make all the difference in triggering a purchase and building customer loyalty. Indeed, if delivery is an essential phase of the sales cycle, and even if it does not entirely depend on you, the choice of delivery method and its variety are all arguments to satisfy your users and offer them the best experience—possible purchase.
What Are The Different Delivery Methods, Their Advantages, And Which Ones To Offer?
Delivery Method: Quick Definition
In e-commerce, it is how a customer will have the products he has purchased online delivered. Free or paying, fast or economical, at home or a pick-up point, the delivery method is an integral part of your e-commerce strategy. The conditions applied, and therefore the delivery options offered to the customer, may depend on the following:
- the type of product, its size, and weight in particular,
- of the carrier,
- the country of destination and the distance to be covered (international shipment),
- The amount of the basket. For example, shipping costs are sometimes free from a certain amount or on a subscription. Strategic to encourage purchases, but also to reward large customers.
Why Is The Delivery Method So Important?
Whether you are a hybrid business with a physical and online store or a 100% e-merchant, you must offer delivery options to your e-customers. It is imperative to satisfy the most significant number, to attract and retain customers, on the same principle as you offer several payment methods.
It’s proven that the delivery time and its cost impact the purchase decision and the conversion rate of your online store: the delivery conditions offered are also the first cause of abandonment. A basket ahead of price, product, and security (source IFOP). But the quality of service is also essential: 35% of e-consumers change e-commerce following a horrible delivery experience (source ECN).
Therefore, the delivery method is a factor to consider when defining your online sales strategy and e-commerce logistics. And if you want to know more about e-commerce logistics and the benefits of automating your logistics tasks, our White Paper produced in collaboration with Soundcloud answers all your questions. In the program :
- revealing recent critical figures of the e-commerce delivery market in France (the most used delivery method, the frequency of online purchases by European consumers, the main reasons for cart abandonment, etc.),
- a complete guide to the points to automate to increase productivity,
- The advice of a major player in online logistics management.
What Are The Primary Delivery Methods?
Home delivery was already the preferred delivery method for 85% of online buyers, according to the FEVAD/Médiamétrie barometer of January 2020. With the development of teleworking, it is more than ever a wise option.
- Advantages: Essential for sending large packages, home delivery is comfortable for the customer available during the day or passive, who does not need to move.
- Disadvantages: It requires a significant organization of rounds to optimize routes and fuel costs. It is not the most ecological delivery method.
Delivery To A Pick-Up Point
Make way for the 2nd mode of delivery appreciated by e-consumers: the relay point! Several pick-up locations are offered to the customer depending on his site, which he can select according to his daily movements. Some carriers, such as UPS, have also developed their network of relay points.
- Advantages: For a reduced cost, or even zero, the package is delivered near the home, generally in another business which thus benefits from a few visits, against the receipt of the box and its storage over a short period (in general 14 days). Delivery to pick-up points optimizes delivery costs for the sender and is also beneficial for the environment, thanks to the reduction in journeys.
- Disadvantages: To be economical, shipments from the collection point to the relay point are shared, which can lengthen delivery times. The customer must ensure that the business is open when he wishes to collect his package.
In-Store Collection (Click And Collect)
It’s not a delivery per se, but definitely, an option to offer. The click and collect, that is, the online purchase coupled with a withdrawal in-store (or warehouse), has become more democratic and allows cyber buyers to shop without paying the delivery price.
- Advantages: click and collect allows you to meet your virtual customer and subtly present the new collection next to the parcel pick-up point.
- Disadvantages: It requires organizing a collection point in the store, having sufficient space, and dedicating staff to this task.
At home or a relay point, this mode offers an ordinary and non-priority delivery time greater than 48 hours, which can go up to several days or weeks.
- Advantages: The e-merchant does not have an obligation of result in terms of deadline, nevertheless given as an indication. Standard delivery is the most economical for the sender and recipient and the best for sending large parcels.
- Disadvantages: It can be problematic when no delivery time slot is established. The delivery person may have to wait or leave with the package to reschedule the delivery, which is also frustrating for the customer.
Also carried out at home or a relay point, this is the preferred delivery method for urgent and priority purchases. In less than two days, it can even be carried out on D-Day or the next day, depending on the time of the order, the distance, and the carrier used.
- Advantages: Express delivery meets the immediate needs of Internet buyers.
- The delivery time is reduced to a minimum for optimal customer satisfaction. It is also recommended for sending essential or valuable items.
- Disadvantages: It requires having sufficient stocks, minimal preparation time, and meeting deadlines: a delay can be fatal for your customer relationship.
Delivery By Appointment
The customer chooses the day and delivery time slot offered by the merchant. Consumers increasingly appreciate delivery by appointment, an option offered by some delivery leaders, such as Chronopost, DHL, or FedEx.
- Advantages: This delivery method meets the needs of demanding customers who wish to be delivered to their home without having to wait for the fateful passage of the delivery person between “8 a.m. and 1 p.m.”.
- Disadvantages: This tailor-made delivery requires very complicated logistics and, therefore, goes through more expensive delivery services to be passed on to the customer.
Which Delivery Method To Choose?
Tips For Choosing The Delivery Method
As you have understood, each delivery method presented above has its share of advantages and disadvantages, so it is essential to offer several of them. Note that they are not incompatible; it is indeed possible to:
- Combine home delivery and delivery to a relay point, with a first visit to the customer, then the delivery of the parcel to a relay point in the event of absence, for more flexibility and to avoid the return to the sender;
- Offer express delivery to a relay point, which has the advantage of optimizing rounds while providing fast service to the customer.
Give your customers at least four choices to satisfy all budgets and all emergencies without becoming a headache for your management and your selection of service providers.
Offer at least:
- the choice between express delivery and standard delivery,
- the choice between home delivery and delivery to a relay point.
Another alternative that will save you time and increase efficiency: is the use of specialized software. SoundCloud, for example, is a complete, intuitive, and easy-to-use shipping platform that helps e-merchants in all sectors boost their online growth and optimize their shipping process.
A proper all-in-one solution connects to more than 80 CMS, ERP, and WMS for complete centralization of orders and 360° management of your activity. Access more than 30 local and international carriers and offer your customers all possible delivery options to meet their needs best!
Free Or Paid Delivery?
Free can indeed be a commercial argument to attract new customers during promotional operations, for example (free delivery for 15 days), or to inflate the virtual shopping cart (free shipping from…). You can also only charge for express deliveries. It’s up to you to define your strategy to convert the most prospects into customers and keep them coming back!
According to New Oxatis, nearly 60% of Internet users abandon the purchase because the delivery is too expensive, and 83% will take action more quickly if the delivery is free and fast. Another essential subject: the return after delivery. A free return policy is decisive for purchasing 50% of respondents.
Which Carrier To Choose To Ensure Your Deliveries?
Due to their significant logistics needs, e-commerce giants like Amazon are developing their delivery and transport services.
For others, rest assured, many offers exist, among them those of:
- Letter Followed by the Post Office
- Mondial Relay,
- but also local carriers, to be noticed!
To not depend on a single carrier, study their offers according to the:
- Your activity, the products (for example: for the sale of meat online where the cold chain must not be broken, special packages sent in less than 24 hours are necessary);
- the guarantees offered (insurance in the event of loss or breakage, non-delivery, etc.);
- delivery deadlines to be met,
- The destination (the rates applied are different between France, Europe, and the world),
- your budget or the margin to be made on the products sold;
- customer preferences ( to be assessed in the medium term according to the options checked);
Then select several providers to leave the choice to the customer on the cost and the reception time. It is necessary to combine international and domestic carriers for international shipments to ensure timely delivery.
Put Yourself In Conversion Mode!
Unsurprisingly, the fastest-growing online stores offer fast and inexpensive shipping. If you combine the preferred delivery methods of your buyers, you will surely increase your turnover and satisfy crowds of customers who will remember it.