Online shopping?s great, isn?t it? Pity about the delivery charges

Online shopping?s great, isn?t it? Pity about the delivery charges

Ordering a £10 item and being charged £4.85 for delivery just doesn?t make sense, does it? And don?t you just hate having to get to the end of checkout process before finding out what the actual delivery charge will be?

Am I alone in thinking this way? It appears not. In a recent (March 2013) Opinium survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults, 1,849 (92%) had made an online purchase in the previous 12 months. Of these, nearly three-quarters (72%) had decided not to make a purchase on a particular website because of the delivery charges quoted.

So delivery charges are important then. What about delivery times? If you ignore deliveries of perishable foods from the likes of Ocado, only 63% of respondents considered delivery on a certain day or time slot to be important. As for the guaranteed next day delivery trumpeted by many etailers, only 38% of respondents felt this to be important. And fewer than a quarter (24%) of respondents would be prepared to pay more for next day delivery. No wonder then that Amazon?s free next day delivery service is such a powerful proposition.

For me, however, the most surprising finding of our research was that, given a choice between Royal Mail and courier companies, two-thirds (67%) of respondents would opt for Royal Mail.

So etailers beware. Consumers may be deserting the High Street in their droves for the convenience of shopping online but, in these cash-strapped times, delivery charges are a critical factor in determining which websites consumers choose to shop at. And speed of deliveries is not as important as many etailers would lead us to believe.