Australian businesses are calling for further innovation in domestic shipping solutions to meet the significant shift in customer expectations towards tracked, easy and affordable shipping, according to a new report launched today by eBay, Australia Post and PayPal. The eBay Shipping report surveys 1,015 eBay sellers reviewing global best practice and how Australia measures up on a global scale in comparison to consumer expectations.
Further investment in domestic shipping infrastructure is increasingly recognised as a key enabler of continued ecommerce growth in Australia.
The main driver for eBay sellers when choosing a shipping partner is reliability of delivery service. 34% of respondents, who altogether ship an average of 482 items each year, listed this as their top priority, followed closely by shipping rates (31%).
Deborah Sharkey, eBay Vice President said, “Consumers want greater certainty when it comes to buying items online. They want the confidence that their purchases will arrive reliably, ensuring they have a seamless online shopping experience. Reliability of delivery, customer service and tracked shipping are all critical ecommerce enablers that drive buyer confidence.”
Many sellers also acknowledged that choosing a shipping provider was more than just about price – it was also about choice. Accuracy and availability of tracking, bulky item shipping, more delivery time choices and flexibility of pick-up service were all key improvements that sellers would like to see from shipping suppliers in the next 12 months.
Since July last year, Australia Post has seen parcels grow at almost 13% compared to the previous year – a figure which can be directly linked to Australians taking up online shopping in record numbers. Over the last 18 months, Australia Post has introduced a number of products and services that make shipping easier and, in many cases, cheaper.
In partnership with eBay, Australia Post developed flat rate satchels and boxes available to eBay sellers, in addition to “click-and-send” online parcel services which now offer new delivery options providing more choice and convenience. New 24/7 parcel lockers, parcel collection locations with extended hours, self-service terminals and Australia Post superstores offer customers an unprecedented range of services to make online shopping even easier.
Ahmed Fahour, Australia Post Managing Director and CEO said, “We’re continuing to invest in our business to meet changing customer needs and we understand that local online retailers want reliable, innovative and competitively-priced shipping solutions. The need for improved tracking is something we’re already building into many of our products to provide online sellers with more peace of mind. Our new low cost, internationally tracked product, Pack and Track International is now available to the UK, US and NZ, with volume based discounts available to help support local businesses to take advantage of the online shopping boom.”
Neville Samuels is one of the largest videogame sellers on eBay, operating his store Dungeon Crawl from Melbourne, said consumers clearly want more choices, including the ability to pay extra for “V.I.P.” services, or receive basic service with cheaper costs.
Mr Samuels said, “Australia Post is doing an enormous amount of work to provide new products and options specifically for online sellers, and they’re the only shipping company that can provide us with the infrastructure to reach every household. However, when eBay sellers move items out of Hong Kong for just $2 each including postage, it’s hard for us to compete. It’s a tough, competitive world out there for online sellers. To help us, our shipping suppliers must be innovative too, to keep pace with us."
Nearly nine out of 10 (88 per cent) said they were happy with the eBay-Australia Post flat rate satchel, which offers a discounted postage price, flat rate pricing and availability of tracking. Survey respondents are eager for eBay to continue to negotiate on their behalf for volume based discounts (68 per cent), tracking for all eBay shipments (46 per cent) and to push for a wider range of flat rate products (41 per cent).
Research from the 2012 Online Business Index found that two out of three (68 per cent) of eBay’s top 3,000 sellers would like to see more competitive shipping rates, while 55 per cent said high postage costs would limit the growth of their business in the upcoming 12 months. Improvements to tracking (54 per cent), availability of shipping for bulky items (29 per cent) and faster delivery times (29 per cent) were also key improvements sellers would like to see from shipping suppliers.
Elena Wise, Acting Managing Director for PayPal, said “PayPal provides an online payments solution for tens of thousands of local businesses, all of whom compete in a global marketplace that rewards those that provide the best buyer experience. For Australian online businesses, the customer experience revolves around purchasing and receiving the product, and it is important the customer receives the product in a reliable, accurate and timely manner. While price is paramount for sellers, the ability to guarantee timely and accurate delivery is paramount to the buyer.”
The Shipping fact sheet can be found here
The Shipping report can be found here
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Online Business Index Shipping Report is a combination of data from eBay’s annual Online Business Index and a recent survey of 1,015 eBay sellers in segments we have categorised as large businesses, small-to-medium businesses and consumer businesses. The sellers participated in a 22-question online survey with research conducted by market researchers Stokes Mischewski in March 2011. The results had not been published prior to today.
 The full results of the 2012 Online Business Index will be released on 29 March 2012