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Peak Season – what customers expect from shipping

By Press Club



Image: Parcel.One

The peak season presents retailers with special challenges, especially with regard to shipping. But what do customers want from shipping during the gift-giving season? This article provides an overview of the most important customer expectations.

Meeting high standards in difficult times

The peak season is once again the busiest time of the year for retailers. However, it also presents retailers with major challenges. In addition to a traditionally very high volume of orders, supply chain issues are particularly high on the list of these challenges in 2022. Many products that are in greater demand than usual during peak season are currently difficult to obtain or have long delivery times. This is especially true for technology, which comes primarily from the Asian region. But other goods have also become increasingly difficult to supply in recent months.

What hasn't changed, however, despite the difficult circumstances, is what customers expect from e-commerce. It should continue to offer the usual customer experience – especially with regard to logistics. Because during peak season, it is not only important that packages arrive, but also how they arrive.

Customer preferences for peak season shipping

The big question now for retailers: What do their own customers expect from the shipping of their packages? During peak season, some familiar customer shipping requirements are even more stringent. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at current needs.

1. Speed is the key

Especially at the end of November and in December, customers pay even more attention to the shipping of their parcels, as they often involve gifts. And these should of course arrive as quickly as possible – at least by the guaranteed delivery date. The higher the order volume, the more difficult it is for retailers to meet this requirement. But how fast is actually fast?

Most customers want delivery within two to three days for standard shipping. It is important for them to be given a specific delivery period in the store when they make their purchase. For example, in form of a last delivery day, i.e. the latest possible delivery time. In addition, more and more customers see it as a service from the retailer to be able to choose between different shipping options.

Customers therefore primarily expect fast shipping with specific delivery times. For retailers, this means two things in particular: first, expanding communication and keeping customers constantly informed about delivery times and the status of their current order. Second, retailers should offer various shipping options – especially express shipping. In this way, they can meet customer wishes in the form of fast and transparent deliveries.

2. Flexibility in delivery wanted

In general, flexibility has become one of the most important criteria in shipping. This applies both to the time of delivery and to the method of delivery. For example, many customers want to be able to determine the day of delivery themselves. Equally, they expect different ways of receiving parcels, such as home delivery or pickup at a delivery point. As a result of the Corona pandemic, 52 percent of customers in Germany prefer contactless delivery, according to surveys by Statista, while 18 percent favor pickup at a delivery point.

The expected flexibility in delivery is one of the biggest challenges for retailers. Logistics management must run smoothly and reliably transmit shipping-related information, among other things. Tracking must function flawlessly and, above all, must be offered. This works with the right logistics partner at your side.

Image: Parcel One

3. Moderate shipping costs

Today, free shipping is being viewed more critically than it was a few years ago. This development has been accelerated, among other things, by the Ukraine conflict and the associated increase in transport costs. But there is also an increasing rethinking on the part of customers: There is now more understanding among customers when shipping is no longer free of charge than was the case a few years ago. One reason for this is the growing awareness of sustainability. According to the ‘E-Commerce in Europe Report’ by postnord, customers are even prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly shipping.

Retailers should still make sure to charge shipping costs appropriately. One option may be to offer free shipping in combination with a minimum order value. Because even if customer behavior is slowly changing with regard to shipping costs: A paid shipping is still a barrier and takes influence on the conversion. Overall, it is important to continue to monitor the trend away from free shipping to proportionate shipping costs.

Conclusion: Successful shipping for a successful customer experience

Image: Parcel.One

The many challenges of peak season 2022 are not lowering customer expectations. On the contrary, they actually increase them, because customers are paying more attention than ever to the shipping and delivery times of their gifts. A successful shipping process is therefore essential for a successful customer experience. Outsourcing logistics during peak season can be an enormous help for retailers. Logistics partners such as PARCEL.ONE provide support with suitable, low-cost shipping options to ensure that customers receive the best customer experience. And of course, this can also extend beyond the peak season.