CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
January 24, 2020
Forward Thinking

Consumers grow impatient with high shipping costs for oversized items

Most online shoppers will avoid retailers that charge high shipping costs and have long delivery windows, study finds.

Demand for fast, free shipping continues to shape all aspects of the retail landscape, with consumers now growing impatient with high delivery costs for oversized items, according to a survey by logistics technology platform uShip, released August 28.

Conducted in conjunction with research firm YouGov, the Dream Decor study homed in on the furniture market, revealing that most buyers will avoid sellers that charge high shipping costs or that have slow delivery times. The study focused on key differences between smaller, boutique retailers and their big-box counterparts.

More than half of consumers who purchased an oversized item in the last year (56%) said they would avoid a boutique retailer if they encountered high shipping costs, the study showed,  and 36% said they would avoid a boutique retailer if it had slow delivery or a long delivery window. The study also revealed that: 

  • 27% of consumers have decided not to purchase a piece of furniture after it was in their cart due to high shipping costs;
  • 26%  said it's too expensive or difficult to replace their current furniture;
  • 40% would turn to a major retailer like Amazon or Wayfair if a boutique retailer didn't offer free shipping;
  • Nearly half (47%) said they would check their tracking number or status at least once a day if they were expecting a piece of furniture that would take weeks to arrive, suggesting consumer impatience with long delivery times, the study author's said.

The Dream Decor study also found that small retailers have a big opportunity to attract buyers that prefer one-of-a-kind items over mass-produced furniture--if they can get a better handle on shipping costs and delivery times. Fourteen percent of buyers say large retailers have too many furniture options, 13% say they can't find items they like at the larger retailers, and 11% say they have regretted purchasing mass-produced furniture from large, major retailers, the study showed.

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