Revving up delivery services is the hot new thing when it comes to eCommerce. Just about every type of retailer – from retail giants like Amazon to brick and mortar merchants like Walgreens – either offers or is planning to launch some form of same-day delivery service. However, the more important question might be, “Do customers really care?”
The answer differs depending on who you’re talking to, according to a survey conducted by Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates and Harris Poll. Released Tuesday (Sept. 22), the survey broke down various assumptions surrounding the push toward same-day and even one-hour delivery services for retailers across the country.
What’s the general verdict?
Consumers like same-day delivery, but certain population subsets like the option even more. In particular, millennials dominated the pro-same-day delivery group. According to the survey, 64 percent of millennial shoppers were more likely to make purchases online when retailers offered same-day delivery. Millennials were followed by Generation Xers, 56 percent of whom were more likely to make online purchases due to same-day delivery, and baby boomers, of which only 40 percent would place orders because of express delivery options.
However, age was far from the only factor that influenced consumers’ decisions to place orders with retailers that offered same-day delivery. In fact, 63 percent of shoppers with children under 18 years old cited same-day delivery as “significantly more likely” to drive purchasing decisions. Moreover, half of all parents flat out expected retailers to offer same-day delivery.
“Retailers are moving closer to consumers, and the supply chain is rapidly evolving to accommodate this,” Fred Schmidt, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates, said in a statement. “Shoppers still value the traditional in-person experience but expect efficiency and expediency. These generational trends help paint a clearer picture for commercial real estate of where warehousing and inventory space may be headed, as well as how traditional retail space is evolving.”
While same-day delivery was never found to decrease the likelihood of a sale, retailers considering launching their own express shipping service may want to consider the types of product likely to drive interest among this key demographic.
If parents of young children are looking to save time through same-day deliveries for online purchases, companies that stock items popular among this demographic should certainly look into same-day delivery. Rapid shipping on everything from baby products and groceries to home goods and cleaning supplies could save parents from time-consuming trips to the store after work, and as the gaps close in same-day delivery networks across the country, more and more parents will be expecting the service as a standard amenity instead of the luxury it was once perceived as.
One unexplored aspect of consumer opinions on same-day delivery was price. Offering such a service for free might attract the most customers, but is it cost effective? Recently, several companies have launched express delivery services on subscription-based payment plans, and while parents of young children might put a premium on express shipping options, at what price point does this luxury become too rich for the average parent’s blood? With the whole trend of instant delivery services still in its infancy, expect companies to iron out all types of pricing models soon.
The Coldwell survey also found that millennials aren’t ready to give up on brick-and-mortar storefronts even in the face of near-instant delivery options. More so than baby boomers (68 percent) and Generation Xers (65 percent), 72 percent of millennial shoppers admitted they preferred shopping in a physical store. Millennials have also managed to rekindle shopping in malls as a social activity, with 73 percent saying that they enjoy strolling among storefronts and kiosks.
What’s the significance of millennials’ resurgence toward supposedly “outdated” retail strategies? If anything, the moral seems to be that retailers cannot skimp on offerings to a diverse customer base. While the busy life of a parents means there’s only so much time in the day to devote to shopping, millennials have more time for window browsing at the mall.
Retailers that manage to balance both the in-store experience as well as same-day delivery options can have their cake and eat it, too.