Free still trumps fast for delivery

Whether you operate a multi-unit enterprise or a single hotel or restaurant, these core principles will improve purchasing and receiving processes, and reduce supply chain expenses.
Free shipping tops fast shipping in Deloitte's holiday survey.

Free shipping beats fast shipping for most shoppers this holiday season. According to Deloitte's 32nd annual holiday survey, 88% of consumers say free shipping is most important, which far outranks fast shipping, chosen as a priority by only 12% of respondents. 

When asked what defines "fast shipping," 54% of respondents said two days or less. Only 35% of consumers consider three- to four-day shipping as fast, down from 42% last year and 63% in 2015.

And while shoppers want their purchases fast, they are not necessarily willing to pay for it, as 64% said they would not pay extra for two-day shipping. Consumers would pay a maximum of $3.80 to get next-day delivery on an item. And 65% of shoppers say they should still get free shipping after Dec. 17.

RELATED: Online to pass in-store spending this holiday season

As fast and free remain a priority, 43% of consumers plan to buy items online and pick them up in-store. More specifically, saving on shipping charges got 62% of the vote and getting the item faster got 48% of the vote as to why consumers chose BOPIS. 

Today's omnichannel holiday shopper wants the assurance of a flexible return policy. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed want a flexible return policy, and 63% want a refund option other than store credit. Over the holidays, more than half of respondents want a longer return window, ranging above the 30-day mark.