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Shipping Options, Delivery Partners Crucial for E-commerce Success

E-tailers may need to step it up to meet consumer demands.

According to an Accenture study released Thursday, numerous shipping choices and delivery partners are highly important for e-tailers to stay successful as in-store retail continues to decrease.

The study, “Differentiating Delivery: How to Win the eCommerce Battle,” evaluated today’s highly competitive delivery market, which is a result of a spike in online shopping. Almost two-thirds of online customers reported that they based purchase decisions on delivery options—and if demonstrated to be complicated, would abandon digital shopping carts.

“E-tailers are chasing a rapidly expanding market, in which delivery is becoming a critical differentiator and a strategic priority,” said Brody Buhler, who leads Accenture’s global post and parcel business. “There is no doubt that e-tailers are getting strategic about delivery and so should parcel delivery organizations.”

Delivery makes or breaks a consumer’s decision to buy products on digital platforms. If retailers provide a seamless online process, they are more likely to gain more online consumers. According to the study, 66 percent of consumers said that they choose a retailer based on the amount of delivery options and 76 percent also evaluated retailers’ return policies before placing orders.

Multiple parcel providers were also preferred by online consumers. It was reported that 26 percent of respondents used at least three for better prices and to reduce the risk of lost packages. A majority (79 percent) also said that they preferred working with multiple providers, instead of one.

Although most businesses (83 percent) said that they are pleased with their current delivery provider (most likely USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx), many e-tailers are also reaching out to online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to increase revenue and reach more customers. Sixty-nine percent said that they earned 41 percent of e-commerce revenue through a digital marketplace.

The study provided five key points for e-tailers to remain successful: keep customers satisfied, provide better parcel returns, analyze price intelligence, investigate segmented features and customize offerings for cross-border, business to customer e-commerce.

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“Not only are marketplaces moving into the delivery space, but major retailers are now sidestepping delivery providers in favor of their own services,” said Buhler. “Digital is dramatically blurring the boundaries between e-tailers, marketplaces and delivery providers. Adapting to these new threats as well as new opportunities is not only urgent but critical to future growth of parcel organizations.”