More online shoppers are selecting same-day delivery at checkout, according to new survey data. Merchants can thank Amazon and the pandemic for shifting consumer expectations.

68% of consumers said fast shipping would lead them to place an online order, according to a February 2021 Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights survey of 1,047 shoppers on conversion rate.

And “fast shipping” keeps getting faster, with same-day delivery as the latest hurdle for merchants to clear. More than a third—36%—of online shoppers have ordered online for same-day delivery from a web-only merchant (such as Amazon.com or 1-800-Flowers.com) within the last six months, according to another February 2021 Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights survey of 1,052 online shoppers on omnichannel shopping. This is up considerably from the 24% of shoppers who said they placed an order for same-day delivery from a web-only merchant in the last six months in August 2020.

Additionally, 26% of shoppers in the February 2021 omnichannel survey said they ordered online for same-day delivery from a physical store (such as Target or Best Buy) in the last six months, up from 14% who said so in August 2020.

Because of the pandemic, more consumers went online to shop as stores were closed or at reduced capacity, and shoppers wanted to avoid indoor spaces. This unexpected boom in online orders meant shipping carriers were not prepared for the influx of package deliveries they had to make. In April 2020, for example, ecommerce package volume increased nearly 60% year over year, according to data from last-mile technology vendor Convey Inc., which has 130 retail clients. Shipping carriers only delivered 76% of online packages on-time in April 2020, a drop from an 89% on-time delivery rate in April 2019, according to Convey data. Many consumers were shocked to find retailers’ estimated delivery dates for nonessential goods were weeks or months in the future, even for Amazon.com orders.

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And data suggests there’s a desire for fast shipping across many categories, not just essentials like groceries. For example, online discussions about same-day delivery for cosmetics and personal care items increased 44% in 2020 compared with 2019, according to big data vendor Signals Analytics’ analysis of same-day delivery keywords and phrases sourced from 13,000 data sets on ecommerce sites, social media, blogs and customers reviews. Same-day delivery discussions related to apparel increased 154% in 2020 compared with 2019, and consumer electronics same-day delivery discussions increased 321%, according to Signal Analytics data.

Amazon.com Inc. has fueled shoppers’ demand for same-day delivery and merchants need to keep up, says Erik Morton, senior vice president of product and strategy at CommerceHub, a fulfillment software provider.

“If Amazon can do it, then other retailers need to do it as well,” Morton says. “Is [same-day delivery] something that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers should be spending money on and investing in? I think the answer is absolutely.”

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But now well into the first quarter of 2021, more merchants have had time to adapt and launch same-day shipping, often with on-demand shipping platforms like Instacart, DoorDash and Shipt. Health and wellness chain GNC Inc., for example, recently announced it now offered same-day delivery with Shipt.

According to Adthena, more retailers in the apparel and home categories are advertising same-day shipping in February 2021 than in 2020. For example, 5.9% of home and furniture retail advertisers used “same-day” in their search text ads in February 2021, up from 1.1% in February 2020, according to data from paid search tracking vendor Adthena. And 5.0% of apparel advertisers used “same day” in search text ads in February 2021, compared with 2.2% in February 2020, according to Adthena.

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