Guest Column | March 5, 2019

Changing Consumer Shopping And Delivery Behaviors – Insights And Recommendations

By Bruce Fair, MetaPack

More Companies Focus On Customer Insights

North American consumers are exhibiting a shift in their shopping and delivery behaviors and preferences. This is according to research MetaPack conducted with more than 1,000 consumers of varying ages in the U.S. and Canada.

Of particular note, findings revealed a preference for non-traditional delivery options, an increase in the luxury brand digital shopper and a growing interest in the option to try-before-you-buy.

What are the implications of these findings for eCommerce players? Following are additional insights and recommendations regarding what retailers can do to address consumers’ evolving desires and requirements to help drive conversions and customer loyalty:

Non-Standard Delivery Options

A growing number of shoppers favor non-traditional options, so while home delivery – for free – retains a strong appeal, consumers are now expecting a range of other options to secure the most expedient time or location to take receipt of their orders.

  • 56 percent of U.S. and 45 percent of Canadian shoppers collected their purchases in store.
  • With regards to a local pick-up point or shop, 23 percent of U.S. and 27 percent of Canadian consumers surveyed had used this option. However, 40 percent of Canadian shoppers plan to take advantage of this, and delivery to a secure box outside their home held a strong appeal for 35 percent of U.S. respondents, demonstrating an increasing interest in this service.
  • Weekend delivery was a chosen option for 27 percent of U.S. and 17 percent of Canadian shoppers.
  • Over a quarter (26 percent) of U.S. and 18 percent of Canadian shoppers had taken advantage of same-day delivery where this option was available to them. Meanwhile, 17 percent of U.S. respondents say the desire for instant gratification meant they’d made use of a one-hour delivery option to get their goods faster.
  • 81 percent of U.S. and 69 percent of Canadian shoppers surveyed expect to pay extra for a one-hour, same day, next day or Sunday delivery.
  • 20 percent of consumers in the U.S. and 21 percent of shoppers in Canada scheduled deliveries to their place of work.
  • 30 percent of U.S. shoppers say they’d be willing to try out futuristic options like delivery by drone, robots or autonomous vehicles.

Findings demonstrate that consumers desire to shop with those eCommerce sites that can best meet growing expectations for delivery experiences that are simple, fast, and – above all – convenient.

The Rise Of The Luxury Shopper

Following a tentative start, luxury brands are now racing to embrace digital commerce.

  • 91 percent of U.S. consumers and 82 percent of Canadian consumers had purchased online goods from a luxury brand in the last 12 months.
  • U.S. consumers appear highly enthusiastic about engaging with luxury brands online – over a quarter (27 percent) had shopped with 10 or more luxe brands in the past year.
  • Around one-third of consumers (32 percent US, 39 percent Canada) had shopped online with between four and nine luxury brands.
  • Home delivery was the top preference for 38 percent of U.S. and 32 percent of Canadian shoppers making a luxury purchase.
  • Asked to compare delivery of their luxury item compared to other ordinary online purchases, 72 percent of U.S. shoppers said it felt more secure; 62 percent said it was more controllable and trackable; and 56 percent said there was a greater level of personal care.
  • However, 24 percent of Canadian shoppers said there was no discernible difference and were less impressed with their luxury item deliveries compared to their U.S. counterparts; 45 percent said it felt more secure; 35 percent said there was greater control or trackability; and 27 percent experienced a greater level of personal care.

With luxury eCommerce taking off, the pressure is on smart retailers to provide unique experiences and differentiated delivery options that play well with shoppers.


Try-before-you-buy plays strongly to consumer desires for a more convenient shopping experience.

  • 72 percent of U.S. and 71 percent of Canadian consumers surveyed say the convenience of try-before-you-buy is appealing.
  • Consumers say that, for them, it’s all about flexible customer service (73 percent of U.S. and 67 percent of Canadian shoppers).
  • 45 percent of U.S. and 33 percent of Canadian consumers note that they anticipate try-before-you-buy would reduce delivery costs on their online orders.
  • But while 54 percent of U.S. consumers say they’d be prepared to pay more for the ease and convenience endowed by a try-before-you-buy service, just 41 percent of Canadian shoppers indicated any inclination to pay for this privilege.

eCommerce sites that are struggling to streamline their returns process will need to prepare for the increase in demand that will be generated as more consumers look to take advantage of the try-before-you-buy trend.

With shifting consumer shopping and delivery behaviors and preferences, it’s clear that eCommerce retailers need to be well prepared to address their evolving desires and requirements -- or risk losing business to competitors.

Delivery control is high on the consumer agenda – today’s shoppers actively seek out the most convenient delivery mode for every purchase they make. With a variety of options to meet their needs, including newer services like ship from store, e-tailers can provide differentiators that help drive conversions and customer loyalty.

For more information, download MetaPack’s full research report, 2018 State of eCommerce Delivery Report – North American Insights.

About The Author

Bruce Fair is chief revenue officer of MetaPack, the global leader in delivery options solutions for retailers and brands.