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Every year customer delivery expectations change in ways that are difficult to forecast. At a first glance, the changes (and similarities) from 2022 to 2023 also appear quite difficult for your average person to work out without extensive research. 

Luckily for you, Sendcloud conducted in-depth consumer research alongside our long-time collaborators, Nielsen. 9000+ consumers answered questions regarding their shipping experiences & expectations for 2023.

It’s no secret that the last few years have been a little up and down. We’ve had a pandemic, e-commerce booms, and e-commerce dips, and now there is an underlying fear that we might be heading into a recession.

Even if these fears of a recession don’t become reality, the fears alone could impact your business. Though overall spending is still likely to increase, you shouldn’t be surprised if your customers are more careful when it comes to the final purchase. 

For example, the difference between a successful sale and an abandoned checkout could be simply due to your competitors offering more attractive delivery options. Of course, this could be cheaper delivery options. However, it could also be due to tracking features, delivery types (next-day delivery, flash delivery, etc.), and courier options. 

With that being said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Let’s hand the stage over to one of Sendcloud’s founders, Rob van den Heuvel.

A word on 2023 from Sendcloud’s founder

Rob van den Heuvel | CEO, Sendcloud: E-commerce spend is still growing. And, during the pandemic, an entirely new demographic ordered online for the first time and is sticking around.

“However, the landscape within e-commerce is always fluid and can be volatile. Ensure you have the right tools in 2023 to respond to every possible development and always be in line with your chief KPI: your customers.

“With that in mind, don’t prepare in fear of the worst (AKA a recession), instead make preparation a continuous practice within your business so you’re never even close to reaching the worst in the first place.”

If that’s not an inspiring way to start your 2023, then what is?

Rob van den Heuvel | CEO, Sendcloud

Why is it crucial to meet your customer delivery expectations? 

Leave your competition eating your dust! While it might seem obvious, taking customer delivery expectations into account can give you a major edge over your competition. Many of them cite a lack of personpower, time, and budget as a reason. Don’t do the same. Get ahead of the game and make sure you’re embracing your customers’ wants and needs. 

Pros for your business 

  • Brand loyalty: Keep your customers coming back for more with speedy, low-cost shipping that will make them loyal to your brand.
  • Reduce abandoned checkouts: Say goodbye to cart abandonment – 73% of buyers have ditched their carts because of delivery charges. Offer free or low-cost shipping for higher conversion rates.
  • Increase lifetime value: Up your sales game by giving buyers control over their delivery timings – they’ll be more likely to shop online with you.
  • Beat the competition: Stand out from the competition by providing faster delivery and multiple shipping options at a low cost.
  • Give your customers control: Make your customers happy by giving them control over deliveries – they’ll appreciate being able to correct a wrong address or reroute a package to a more convenient location.

What customer delivery expectations are important to consider in 2023?

Shipping expectations vary per market

This won’t come as a surprise but do you know how many international businesses still don’t take this into consideration? 

If you’re shipping internationally, be ready to pack your bags and explore the world of shipping. You’ll find that shipping practices and expectations vary just like the cultures and languages of different countries. Don’t expect a one-size-fits-all approach, be prepared to get creative and adjust which couriers and shipping options you offer.

44% of Dutch shoppers expect free shipping on €150 orders while only 25% of American shoppers expect the same

Green and flash delivery are on the rise

Every few years a new shipping phenomenon will pop up. A few years ago it was green, eco-shipping. In 2023, it’s flash delivery time. Flash delivery is essentially really speedy shipping, usually within 24 hours. 

Green and flash delivery seem like two sides of the same coin – it doesn’t seem entirely possible to achieve both. At the moment, many flash delivery stores such as Gorillas, Getir, Zapp, etc. use bicycles – that’s pretty eco-friendly. But what happens when customers want bigger products flash delivered or quicker flash deliveries?

54% of consumers expect online stores to offer a green delivery method in 2023

Rising shipping costs

If you’ve checked BBC news even once in the last few months, you’ll know that inflation is a genuine fear for a lot of people. Following the pandemic, there’s a potential financial crisis on the horizon. Customers expect that this will cause shipping costs to increase. 

Many couriers are likely to increase their prices (or have already raised them) so it’s important that you factor this into your business plan also. 

66% of customers expect shipping costs to rise due to inflation caused by the pandemic

Free returns will become less common

Free returns have become more and more popular year after year for the best part of a decade. Expect this to change. Leading retailers like Zara and H&M are starting to charge for returns and this could start a domino effect. 

Many businesses lose a substantial amount of their profits to free returns and it seems the biggest retailers are taking a stand. 

Did you know that 26% of customers are willing to pay for their returns to an online store?

Where can you find all the customer delivery expectations for 2023?

As e-commerce becomes the norm, customer delivery expectations are growing. Shoppers expect their online shopping experience to be just as seamless as buying in-store. That means the ability to choose their ideal delivery option in every online store.