Knowing exactly where your package is and when it will arrive has the edge over how long it will take when it comes to what consumers want in cross-border delivery of online orders. That’s one of the key findings of the most recent survey from the International Post Corporation (IPC) on cross-border ecommerce shopping.
Online cross-border shoppers are more likely to pay extra for tracking than for speed of delivery. They also want electronic notification, so they know exactly when to expect the package, the IPC survey indicates. In addition, an overwhelming majority of respondents – 92 percent – said they wanted clear information about delivery charges before purchasing. And 88 percent said they wanted free returns or free delivery on purchases over a certain amount.
IPC is a consortium made up of postal administrations from developed countries, including the U.S. Postal Service. Member posts use this annual survey to understand consumer behavior so they can better meet customers’ needs and remove obstacles to cross-border growth.
This year’s survey highlights the growing volume of low-value, light-weight goods, such as clothing, books, and beauty products, that consumers are buying, in particular in the biggest markets: China accounted for 26 percent of the most recent cross-border purchases; followed by the U.S. (16 percent); and then Germany and the United Kingdom (both at 15 percent).
The survey also underscores just how huge the “big three” platforms are: Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba collectively account for two-thirds of cross-border purchases, with Amazon leading the charge at 31 percent of most recent cross-border purchases.
One particular opportunity for posts is in returns of online orders. While only 6 percent surveyed returned their parcels (up from 4 percent the previous year), they almost always used the post to make the return (94 percent). Cross-border returns are trickier than domestic ones, but they present huge growth potential for posts if they can make returns easy for both consumer and retailer.
What matters most to you in ordering an item online from another country? Is certainty of delivery date more important than speed? Would you pay more for tracking? What obstacles do you find when ordering from cross-border sites?
Please also answer our poll question, at right.