What shipping experience customers expect and what retailers offer them

What shipping experience customers expect and what retailers offer them
Published on: Nov 7, 2020
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

When it comes to the shipping experience, retailers sometimes invest too much energy in things that are of little relevance to the customer. On the other hand, they ignore needs on which consumers base their purchasing decisions. These are the key findings of the parcelLab consumer study "E-Commerce from the customer's point of view". In collaboration with YouGov, the operations experience specialist asked more than 2,000 online shoppers what they wanted from their shopping and shipping experience and compared the results with its E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020, for which the logistics services of the 100 largest online retailers in Germany were analyzed.

Shipping costs - a perennial issue

The biggest dilemma is still shipping costs: while more than a third of customers generally expect free shipping, only a good fifth of the 100 largest German online retailers are prepared to pay shipping costs in full. In their customer loyalty programs, too, retailers do not include free shipping enough as a benefit promise. 59% of online customers would join a customer loyalty program if their online orders were shipped free of charge in return. However, only 10 of the 34 largest online stores that offer customer loyalty programs at all offer this benefit.

There is also a big difference between wish and reality when it comes to choosing a logistics provider. Here, 71% of customers would like to have freedom of choice. But not even 19 retailers comply with this wish. Customers would also like more flexibility in delivery services than retailers offer them. For example, 50% of customers would also like to pick up parcels at the post office. But only 41 of the 100 largest online stores in Germany offer delivery to post offices. Instead, retailers focus more on Click & Collect than this is of interest to customers. 33 retailers in the test offer the service, but only 28% of customers are keen to use it.

Express shipping is interesting - but too expensive

It is also interesting that the interest of customers in express shipping is greater than often assumed. One in two customers would use this under certain circumstances, but only one in four retailers offers it. There is also disagreement about how much express shipping should cost. The majority of customers would pay a maximum of 5 euros for it, but retailers who offer express shipping charge an average of 9.63 euros for it, which is almost twice as much as customers would pay.

When it comes to returns handling, one in two customers is happy if a returns label is enclosed with their parcel. However, this is only the case for parcels from 40 of the 100 largest online retailers. Customers would also like to see shipping communication more closely meshed: 45% of online customers would like to be informed when a delivery has been made. However, only 18 retailers in the test actually comply with this wish.

On the other hand, the survey shows that retailers are overshooting the mark when it comes to package design. 47 of the 100 largest retailers take the trouble to print their shipping boxes individually. Customers tend to expect shipping packaging to be environmentally friendly and recyclable. Logos on the carton impress just 4% of customers.

"In terms of operations experience, there is still room for improvement at most retailers", concludes parcelLab co-founder Anton Eder. "But before you optimize, you should know what your customers want. Our study provides surprising and therefore all the more valuable insights."

The complete consumer study "E-Commerce from the customer's point of view" with further detailed evaluations is available for download free of charge here:


About parcelLab:

With the Operations Experience (OX) platform parcelLab, companies optimize the customer experience during order fulfillment. Large enterprises across all industries can use the unique cloud platform (SaaS) to control all relevant process steps in fulfillment themselves in real time, identify any problems early on and thus respond proactively.Using fully configurable and automated workflows, companies can communicate directly and in a highly personalized manner with the customer at all relevant points in the process and no longer have to hand over this valuable point of contact to third parties such as DHL & Co. In this way, companies ensure a consistent brand experience, proactive customer service and maximized cross-selling potential. parcelLab customers include over 500 well-known companies in 45 countries and 32 languages, including IKEA, Lidl and MediaMarktSaturn. The company was founded in 2014 and today employs over 85 people at locations in Munich, London, Paris and New York.

Press contact:

parcelLab GmbH, Anton Eder (COO), Tel.: +491728242022, e-mail: anton@parcellab.com

Saskia Mueller PR & Events, Saskia Mueller, Tel. : +49 178 342 15 67, E-Mail: parcellab@saskiamueller.com

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