Are your brand’s parcel shipping options a match for your diverse customer base?

The pandemic has changed so many things about customers – how and where they shopped, what they bought, why they bought it and how that purchase ultimately made them feel. In the long run, these changed consumer behaviors are here to stay. According to the US Future Consumer Index, more than half of consumers agree that new behaviors adopted during the pandemic feel normal now. 

So how can retailers adjust to these adapted consumers without wasting their budget on someone who will never purchase their product? The answer: With customer profiles that are designed to attract the right customers to your business and keep loyal customers returning.

By carefully analyzing customer needs and setting that against the backdrop of your products and services, brands can develop a targeted supply chain strategy with shipping options that will help offer your e-commerce business the best chance at success.

And we know that delivery dates matter, in fact, around 36% of online shopping customers will abandon their carts if unsatisfied with the delivery date.

Customer Profiles When Thinking about Parcel Shipping

ProShip has put together a list of the top five customer profiles and the shipping options that best match their needs:

Profile 1: “I need this now!”

The last minute or impulse buyer

How they shop: These shoppers make purchases based on items that appeal to them in the moment or out of necessity at the last minute. These can also, however, be related to “retail therapy” or emotional shopping.

How to meet their needs: Offer Hyperlocal Shipping or Same-Day Options. The ultimate instant gratification, hyperlocal deliveries are made between one to three hours, and rely on a nimble fulfillment system and carrier network.

  • During the pandemic, the average American spent $182.98 monthly on impulse buys – up 18% from January of 2020.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 respondents said that buying something impulsively during the pandemic positively affected their mood.
  • The global hyperlocal service market is projected to reach $3634.3 billion by 2027.
  • 41% of consumers are willing to pay a fee for same-day delivery while 24% of shoppers said they would pay more to receive packages within a one-or two-hour window of their choosing.

[Learn more about how volatility in the supply chain industry is prompting retailers to purchase their own logistics capabilities: Measuring Carrier Volatility in the Supply Chain Industry]

Profile 2: “I’m checking my list!”

The well-organized, plans ahead buyer

How they shop: These buyers are on a mission and hunting for specific products or shopping from a list. Some call them “need-based” or “reluctant” shoppers because they are often driven only by need, not because they necessarily enjoy it.

How to meet their needs: Offer Click & Collect options. Also known as ‘in-store pick-up’ or ‘buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS), these options enable customers to pick-up their online orders in physical stores. Because this tactic utilizes the store as an additional touchpoint, it encourages customers to shop more, and is usually a free or nominally charged option. Shopping may not be something this “on a mission” customer enjoys, so everything you can do to make their experience painless will boost their loyalty and make it more likely that they return.

  • More than half of shoppers use a shopping list “always” or “usually” when shopping.
  • 70% of consumers said BOPIS improved their shopping experience.
  • Over 50% of adult shoppers use BOPIS. And 67% of those people add additional items to their carts when they know they can pick them up immediately.

[Explore how brands are using Advanced Date Shopping to show a promised delivery date for the “planner”: Advanced Date Shopping Brochure]

Profile 3: “I want it cheap.”

Sales, discount hunter

How they shop: Unlike the other consumer profiles on this list, these bargain hunters are not after a specific item, or faithful to a particular brand. Price is the most important factor, and they are typically willing to sacrifice transit time to save money.

How to meet their needs: Offer Ground or services from the USPS. As the USPS is the only legal carrier allowed to touch every mailbox in the country, they have access to an unparalleled network of households in America. Specializing in small and lightweight packages, the USPS can offer some specially discounted services like Priority Mail Cubic, where the rate is based on a box’s outer dimensions and not the weight, and volume discounts for those who use shipping software to access commercial pricing rates.

  • Cost was cited as the most important consideration by over 64% of consumers.
  • More than 50% of the online shoppers cited extra costs being too high as their primary reason for cart abandonment in the past 3 months.
  • 54% of the top 500 online shops by net sales in the U.S. have indicated USPS as a shipping method.

[Dive deep into what customers want. What Do Customers Prefer: Free or Fast Shipping?]

Profile 4: “I’m never home.”

Very busy, time-poor shopper

How they shop: These shoppers consider themselves time-poor and their shopping habits are influencing other retail-related trends, driving a convenient online shopping experience with delivery-on-demand.

How to meet their needs: Offer After Hours Delivery. After hours delivery, especially through a gig contractor, gives customers a chance to receive their online orders when they arrive home from work or over the weekend. This reduces the need for multiple re-delivery attempts and the customer doesn’t need to make time to travel to a depot or post office to pick up the item.

  • Gig workers now make up 36% of the U.S. workforce.
  • Roadie CEO, Marc Gorlin, said one of their customers increased its deliveries through the app by 3,000% from January to April of 2021.

[Understand how 2022 GRIs can fuel taking a closer look at major carrier alternatives: Analyzing the FedEx 2022 General Rate Increase]

Profile 5: “I’m trying to save the Earth.”

The Environmentalist

How they shop: These consumers have shifted from intention to action, and they want to see their sustainable purchase continue through the shipping journey. Consumers are no longer just going green as a humblebrag – they are willing to put money behind their beliefs.

How to meet their needs: Offer Right-Size Packaging. When you can deliver orders in a custom-fit box, customers take notice. This shows that you care about the environment and want to lower your company’s carbon footprint. This kind of packaging yields less waste and puts your eco-friendly customers at ease.

  • 46% of customers are more likely to purchase a product online if they’re able to recycle the product packaging. [Shopify eCommerce Market Credibility Study 2021]
  • The World Economic Forum estimates that parcel deliveries will increase by 78% globally by 2030, resulting in 32% more emissions.
  • Packaging is the largest source of e-commerce emissions, at six times higher than products purchased in store.

[Utilize omnichannel fulfillment strategies to reduce transit times and save on fuel costs, not to mention the environmental benefits. Discover more parcel shipping strategies in the Parcel Playbook for Retail]

How ProShip takes retailers Beyond the Box to deliver on customer delight

With shippers battling high shipping costs, capacity constraints, and rising customer expectations, utilizing and adapting your customer profiles offers insight into the most important shipping options and technologies for your unique business. Even further, the flexibility to control your fulfillment options is essential for executing a positive customer experience.

ProShip’s multi-carrier shipping software has the advanced functionality to tackle these challenges by offering millisecond transaction times, the confidence of an always-compliant program, and the ability to achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility. As the unboxing experience becomes more and more important, shoppers want proactive communication, regular shipping updates, and delivery options that match their needs.

To learn more about why 25% of National Retail Federation’s Top 100 Retailers who ship parcel choose ProShip, read our Retail/E-Commerce Brochure.

See why 25 of the Top 100 Retailers who ship parcel choose ProShip

ProShip empowers retailers to supercharge their parcel shipping strategy with key features such as next-level speed and cost reduction. See how ProShip integrates into your enterprise tech stack to make shipping your competitive edge by scheduling a discovery call with one of our shipping experts today.