Retailers and consumers both cited unreliable carriers, communication, and package thefts as concerns.

UPS released a new report on shipping, and it shows consumers prioritize fast shipping and communication from retailers.

The report is based on surveys of 500 ecommerce businesses and 1,000 online shoppers in the U.S. 

Customers say bad shipping can ruin a good experience

Consumers told UPS that fast and reliable shipping is key for being happy with purchases. 90% of those consumers said shipping quality accounts for at least half of their online shopping experience.

Negative experiences happen periodically, according to the report. 71% of consumers said they had contacted customer service for an online order in the last year for shipping or delivery issues. Late deliveries were the most common reason to contact customer service, with 39% having cited this reason. Close behind, 36% of customer service interactions were due to lost orders that were never delivered. That was followed by damaged products (27%), late shipment (21%), and stolen orders (11%).

Consumers have clear expectations

Customer responses largely showed a desire for fast, inexpensive shipping, and up-to-date communication from retailers. 87% of consumers told UPS that they’d be more likely to buy from a specific retailer if they could personalize shipping, like choosing the arrival day and tracking packages.


UPS also asked consumers what delivery offerings they were most interested in. Respondents could select multiple offerings. Just over half, 52%, wanted the option to choose between standard and expedited shipping. 51% wanted the ability to select a specific date for deliveries; 42% also wanted to be able to select time of day.

Convenience of picking up and dropping off packages was also a consideration for many consumers. 45% wanted the option to return online orders in a variety of ways, including dropping off in stores and pre-printed labels. 29% want the choice of local pickup locations for orders, like a UPS store or retail location. Required signatures (22%) and sustainable shipping (22%) rounded out the list.

Digital Commerce 360’s August 2022 consumer poll found similar results about the importance of shipping quality and communication to customers. 76% of the 1,116 consumers surveyed ranked free shipping as one of the three most important factors in online shopping, more than any other option. Delivery speed was a distant second place at 43%. 33% said quality customer service was also a factor. Returns were also a factor in this survey, with 25% prioritizing free return shipping, though just 3% selected a physical store for returning orders.


Retailers face shipping challenges

Ecommerce businesses UPS surveyed said they were facing challenges providing these services to customers.

41% of retailers told UPS the reliability of shipping carriers was a top factor negatively impacting their business, and 26% named package theft. 27% said it was “difficult to manage shipments and ensure a consistent, positive shipping experience across multiple marketplaces and carriers.”

81% of the retailers UPS surveyed sell products across at least two marketplaces, with nearly half (42%) selling on four or more. That introduces another level of complexity into shipping. 41% of retailers said shipping requirements, like delivery timelines, were among the most difficult aspects to manage across multiple marketplaces. 38% named processes for lost or stolen deliveries, and 31% said return policies were among the most difficult. Delivery status updates are particularly difficult for 28% of retailers, while 26% named marketing and 20% cited fulfillment requirements.

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