CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 22, 2018
Forward Thinking

Online shoppers show strong preference for specific parcel carriers

Study shows e-commerce consumers are loyal to UPS, USPS, and FedEx... in that order.

In the rush to provide e-commerce fulfillment, many retailers choose the cheapest carrier, but a recent study shows that online shoppers have strong preferences for favorite shipping service providers.

When given a choice at checkout, more than a third of online shoppers prefer one shipping service provider over another, according to the study from OSM Worldwide, a residential package- and parcel-delivery provider based in Bensenville, Ill.

According to the "State of Online Shopper Expectations and Actions" study, 31 percent of customers who have a preferred carrier would choose not to shop with a retailer because of its choice of shipping service provider. In contrast, just 6 percent of those online shoppers without a preferred carrier would make the same choice.

And just who are these prized carriers? The OSM study showed that 39 percent of respondents listed UPS as their top preferred carrier, leading 35 percent who picked USPS, and 23 percent who opted for FedEx.

Consumers with a strong loyalty to a certain carrier are also more engaged about monitoring the shipping operation. The study showed that those with a carrier preference are more watchful of their online orders, using email tracking numbers, email notifications, and mobile apps to track their packages throughout the fulfillment process.

More specifically, 76 percent of online shoppers with a preferred carrier use an email tracking number; 42 percent use email notifications; 31 percent use a mobile app; and 25 percent use text alerts. That compares to far lower figures for those without a preferred carrier, including 20 percent who use text alerts and 25 percent who use mobile apps.

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