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5 shipping insights we learned from surveying our customers


Written by David Renwick

Just recently, we published a new report focused entirely on shipping and fulfilment trends for 2023 and beyond. While we collated a lot of amazing research and data from across the globe, we also spoke to leading retailers in Australia, New Zealand and beyond. It’s fair to say we learned a lot!

From the major shipping and fulfilment challenges retailers expect to see this year, to the delivery options they’re offering at checkout; you’ll want to check out the full report to get access to all our actionable insights.

In this article, we’re going to share 5 of the most fascinating insights we took away from our survey, and what they mean for retailers. Let's dive in.

1. Delivery choice at checkout matters

Any retailer worth their salt knows that the customer always comes first. When it comes to eCommerce, nowhere is this more important than offering delivery choice at checkout. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that retailers agree.

In our survey, we asked retailers to rank on a scale of 1-10 how important delivery choice was in increasing checkout conversions. Over 80% of our survey respondents answered over 5 (Somewhat important), with a whopping 25.8% answering with a 10 (Extremely important)!

What’s more, 60% of respondents to a DigitalCommerce360 survey said they’d chosen one retailer over another because the delivery options were preferable.

Giving your customers a choice at the checkout means thinking about the following:

  • Give your customers a choice of shipping options – Including same-day, free shipping, overnight, pick up in store and more.
  • Consider your courier mix – Do you have the right courier partners to enable the delivery options your customers want?
  • How are you controlling your shipping costs? Consider shipping automation software like Starshipit to set up automations to account for variations in your shipping costs based on destination, weight, or delivery timeframes – and display accurate rates at checkout.
  • Implement a ship-from-store strategy – Consider using stores as micro distribution centres, both to allow pickup in store and to get orders to customers faster.

2. Multi-courier strategies offer an important safety net

When running a business where the timely and accurate delivery of orders is key for the bottom line, couriers have a large part to play. For this reason, it just makes good business sense to not put all your eggs in one basket and use a multi-courier strategy.

A multi-courier strategy means giving your business a safety net and total flexibility. You can move orders to other couriers when one service is experiencing problems, add and remove couriers when required and use different couriers for their different services.

Retailers agree. Just 16% of our respondents relied on one courier, with 30.5% using 3 different couriers, and 12.2% using 5 or more.

We asked: How many couriers are you currently using?

See this data and more in Evolving Expectations: A look into the future of eCommerce shipping.

Why retailers choose multi-courier strategies

We asked them why, and they listed the following reasons:

  • Access a wider array of delivery options and services.
  • Ability to make decisions based on delivery performance.
  • Ability to pick the cheapest shipping rate for each order.

Considering multi-courier? Here are some things to keep in mind

  1. Implement a multi-courier strategy to secure your shipping operation and save on your bottom line.
  2. Make sure you’ve got the right mix couriers to support the delivery options your customers expect (e.g., same day, overnight, express etc)
  3. Consider a centralised shipping solution to manage your couriers, automate the process of assigning orders to couriers and adding new services when required.
Starshipit dashboard with courier costs

3. Retailers understand the benefits of negotiating their own rates

Managing the bottom line and managing costs are always top-of-mind considerations when running a business. For many retailers relying on freight aggregators, shipping costs will be one area ripe for savings by moving to a freight enabler.

Here’s the low-down: While shipping aggregators passively serve up pricing, shipping enablers empower businesses to negotiate the best rates directly.

Aggregators mark up their pricing and profit on the difference, while enablers give retailers real-life savings that they can pass onto their customers (or keep for themselves). Aggregators also restrict retailers to selected carriers, while enablers let retailers use the couriers they want.

Our survey respondents agree, with 74% saying they prefer to negotiate their own shipping rates with couriers.

4. The delivery experience is key to success

Negative delivery experiences can harm your brand. In one survey, 84% of customers said they wouldn’t make a repeat purchase after just one poor delivery experience.

Customers love knowing when an item has left your store and is on the way to them. But keeping customers in the loop is not just a way to meet expectations, it's a chance to communicate and build connections to engage with customers and build loyalty.

Here’s how retailers can deliver great shipping experiences:

  • Proactive shipping updates – Not only do they keep excited shoppers in the loop, they’re an opportunity to promote sales, related items or content about the product.
  • Give customers a choice – Effective delivery options balance timing and pricing. The cost of shipping is important to 74% of shoppers surveyed, but 68% want accurate timing as well.
  • Build loyalty – The more you keep them in the loop while their goods are in transit, the more they’ll be happy to spend with you in the future.
sustainability trends for shipping and fulfilment - fern leaf

5. Sustainability is still a top priority

Finally, we asked retailers what sustainability initiatives they were going to consider in 2023 and beyond. Perhaps unsurprisingly, sustainable packaging, carbon-offset or carbon-neutral sending, and choosing partners or couriers with a focus on sustainability ranked as the top choices.

These choices – and other sustainable moves in general – are good for buyers and sellers alike.

Australia Post found a range of enlightening stats about growing sustainability trends in its latest report, including:

  • Nearly two-thirds of people will pay more for ethically sourced products.
  • Groceries, fashion and beauty products draw the most conscious shoppers.
  • A third of businesses have noticed sustainable practices increase customer loyalty.

For retailers, there are some important considerations to be made with regards to sustainability:

  • Stay informed - Changing generations and spending habits bring new trends and opportunities for retailers that can evolve with them.
  • Integrate sustainability with your brand - Communicate with customers about the efforts you’re making to be ethical and eco-conscious. Walk the walk with sustainable packaging and environmentally friendly practices.
  • Watch your costs - Customers will often pay more for sustainable options, but often only around 10 per cent more.

Set your shipping up for success

There’s one major change retailers can make right now to set themselves up for success: introduce shipping automation. Shipping automation streamlines your shipping process, reducing manual labor and errors, saving you valuable time and money in the long run. What’s more, you can simplify your shipping substantially, running everything from one central dashboard.

Check out some of our case studies to learn more, or book a demo with one of our team.

Evolving Expectations shipping report eCommerce insights

Download your free copy of Evolving Expectations

Interested in learning more about what leading retailers are planning to prioritise this year and beyond? Download your free copy of our new report, Evolving Expectations. You’ll learn about the above trends and so much more, including: How to reduce business overheads, what’s happening with returns, transparency around delivery timeframes, and ship from store.

Download your free copy

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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