E-commerce from the customer's perspective vs. e-commerce shipping study - do retailers really know what their customers want?

E-commerce from the customer's perspective vs. e-commerce shipping study - do retailers really know what their customers want?
Published on: Oct 23, 2020
Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Do online retailers actually know what their customers really want? We surveyed the wishes and needs of more than 2,000 consumers and summarized the results in our E-Commerce from the customer's point of view study 2020. We were particularly interested in questions such as "Do you expect free delivery when ordering online?" or "Would you like to be able to choose between different logistics providers?"
We then compared the results with our E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020 to find out what is important to customers and what online retailers currently offer them.

Operations Experience from the Customer and Dealer Perspective

Before our first E-Commerce Shipping Study 2018, operations experience in German e-commerce was largely unexplored territory. We now have a good overview of which services are state of the art and which retailers are setting benchmarks by performing particularly well. The last piece of the puzzle missing from the overall picture is a comparison of the service offering with actual customer expectations. This study also fills this gap.

The comparison of desire and reality in detail


Which service offerings are most important to customers and what can they happily do without? What do retailers currently offer and do these wishes match expectations?

Free delivery

How important is it to customers that they get their order delivered completely free of charge? At what purchase sum do shoppers agree to pay the delivery costs themselves, and how many of the top 100 German online stores even offer their customers this service?


34% of customers generally expect free shipping


22 of the 100 largest online stores generally offer free shipping

What would you say?

Logistician selection

Would online shoppers like to be able to choose between different logistics providers, or do they not care who delivers their package? Who exactly is the preferred logistics provider of Germans and who do the top 100 online stores actually use to deliver their packages?


71% of customers would like to choose their preferred logistics provider themselves


19 of the 100 largest online stores offer customers a choice of different delivery companies

How would you answer this question?

Track & Trace

What is the actual situation with tracking and tracing? Do customers use this service and what is most important to them in shipping communication? Do the most successful German online stores comply with these requests or do they leave their customers out in the cold when it comes to tracking and tracing?


91% of customers use Track & Trace during shipping.


Tracking did not work for 15 of the 100 largest online stores in the test

Returns handling

How easily should customers be able to return items? Should the label be enclosed directly or be available as a download? How exactly do the top 100 online stores currently handle this process?


50% of customers expect online stores to enclose return labels.


40 of the 100 largest online stores include a returns label with their parcel

Want to learn more? Find the rest of the questions and results in the E-commerce from a Customer Perspective Study.

How can retailers improve their operations experience?

So what recommendations for action in terms of OX can be derived from the comparison of customer expectations and the merchants' offerings?
Basically, there is no such thing as the ultimate recommendation.
Depending on the industry, target group and product, some tips will work better than others. It is recommended to test and continuously optimize to achieve the best results.

  1. Give customers freedom of choice when selecting a logistics provider
  2. Communicate shipment status information
  3. Provide shipment tracking with detailed information
  4. Harness the power of customer reviews
  5. Focus on sustainable shipping

Want more information on this?
Then download our 2020 Consumer Study right here.

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