Consumers are spoilt for choice these days, with an ever-increasing number of ecommerce sites and online retailers focusing on every niche. Aside from price and quality, one of the other elements that can help a consumer make a buying decision is the range of delivery options.    

More choice at the online checkout is an important factor for any ecommerce business to grow its customer base and a way to remain competitive in the market. With a greater selection of delivery options, these are some of the most important ones to offer.

Same and Next Day Delivery

Not so long ago the idea of same day delivery was a non-existent concept. Now it is offered by a lot of online retailers, with one survey claiming that 49% of shoppers say same day delivery makes them more likely to buy online, while a quarter would abandon their cart if it wasn’t an option. The main reason for using same day delivery is when orders are needed urgently, as a very last-minute gift for example.

It was the increasing amount of ecommerce and online retailers offering next day delivery in the first place that led to same day delivery becoming an option. In order to be more competitive and stand out, a few businesses introduced it, before others followed suit to keep up with the industry.

Flexible Time Slots

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Speed isn’t always a priority for consumers, with convenience sometimes more important. That’s where providing flexible yet time specific delivery slots can win over consumers. As many people are at work during the day when couriers are likely to make deliveries, it provides a more understanding solution and can help ensure there are fewer missed deliveries.

Two hour time slots are most convenient for the majority of consumers. However, where such specification isn’t possible, just stating whether it will be in the morning or afternoon will still be appealing to many customers.

Alternate Locations

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It has always been possible to order deliveries to alternate locations other than your home, such as to work or a friend’s house. This is ideal for many consumers if they know they probably won’t be home when the delivery is made, but it still requires someone to be present to accept and sometimes sign for it. Parcel tracking can be an important option here, especially when consumers are ordering items to other people, for the knowledge that they arrive on time.  

A more recent, growing phenomenon to meet the increasing demand that 24/7 deliveries are creating, is to offer in-car deliveries. Using connected technologies, allows delivery drivers to open a car’s boot to drop off a parcel while they’re at work, for example. Though this has only been trialled so far, predictions from retailers such as Amazon with Amazon Key suggest this could be rolled out for people’s homes or other places to avoid missed deliveries ever happening again.

Click and Collect

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Rather than delivering to people’s workplaces or homes, click and collect is also a popular choice, with an increase of 1.9% in 2018 vs. 2017 and projections looking to increase further in coming years.  This can be used if you’re getting something personal delivered, or something you don’t want others you live or work with to see (such as a surprise birthday present). With this method, shoppers have the flexibility to choose from a selection of locations at the checkout for where their delivery will go.

Similar options such as the day and time they’ll be ready for collection provide extra convenience. It also means consumers can place orders and arrange for them to be ready to pick up after they’ve finished work or during their lunch hour. Giving real choice to fit around a busy day.

Challenges for Ecommerce Businesses

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For ecommerce businesses the growing delivery options offer a great opportunity to appeal to new customers and increase retention levels. In a highly competitive market this is essential, but they do pose a few challenges. Having a reliable and fast supply chain in place is necessary to offer same and next day delivery, and fulfilment services can help create this.

To arrange click and collect you will need to partner with local shops and other facilities that offer such a service. While for any more innovative options, working with a technology company and making sure everything is legal will be vital.

Alternatively, get started with Whistl and the ecommerce fulfilment services available. From systems to inventory management, returns and more, these fulfilment services can help with an integrated management platform for keeping on top of things.

Images courtesy of iStock and Improve Group