Photo by Antony Trivet via Unsplash

Are shipping times the dealbreaker in cross-border commerce?

Approximately 40% are willing to wait four to seven days for free international shipping.

Shipping times heavily influence shoppers' preference for domestic over cross-border purchases, according to ESW and Asendia’s Shipping and Returns: Leveraging Logistics to Unlock Global Loyalty report.

The survey, involving 18,000 respondents in 18 countries, showed that about 30% are reluctant to engage in cross-border shopping due to concerns over shipping duration, with an expectation of receiving orders within a week.  

Younger consumers exhibited higher expectations regarding international shipping times.

Moreover, about 40% of respondents are willing to wait four to seven days for international deliveries in exchange for free shipping, with another 40% willing to wait up to two weeks.

Transparency regarding import charges, taxes, and duties is also deemed crucial, with 27% stating they would be more likely to shop cross-border if these costs were clearly displayed.

“Handling returns is costly. While there are many things you can do to reduce your brand’s rate of returns, like improving product descriptions and clearly communicating costs like taxes and duties, eliminating all returns is impossible,” the report noted.

“Customers who return items may be unhappy. But, if your brand’s returns process is a positive experience, you can actually build loyalty” it added.

ALSO READ: Around 7 in 10 Gen Zs in Southeast Asia prefer e-commerce 

Half of the surveyed shoppers are okay with paying nominal return charges, but Gen Z individuals are significantly more accepting of these fees compared to Baby Boomers. 

Amongst the surveyed countries, South Korea, Switzerland, the UAE, and India are the most open to return charges. Return shipping fees and subscription charges with free return perks are also deemed acceptable by most respondents. 

Younger shoppers were least likely to accept restocking fees, but around three in 10 said they would accept either return shipping fees or a membership fee.

The report recommends brands to be transparent about their return policies, offer return tracking, and align return fees with market expectations.

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