Holiday shopping has gone digital. What does that mean for retailers?

Online orders now fuel the Black Friday and festive season rush. Retailers now need to consider how to meet customer expectations for their online and post-purchase delivery experience, coming down to two key components: quality and cost.

Megan McDonnell
November 23, 2023
min read

Nothing is better than the flexibility and convenience of ordering online. As a result, it is no surprise that online orders now fuel the Black Friday and festive season rush, with 57% of consumers expecting to do this year’s holiday shopping online according to new research by Metapack. 

This online shopping habit changes the game for retailers; with a festive season more digital than ever before, retailers now need to consider how to meet customer expectations for their online and post-purchase delivery experience. These online demand considerations come down to two key components: quality and cost.

An online trend

Black Friday sales grew in popularity in the mid-20th century, falling on the Friday after American Thanksgiving, a singular day marking the start of holiday shopping for consumers. Now with the rise of ecommerce, less emphasis has been placed on in-store shopping; in turn, there is less focus on the one-day sale and a shift towards a continuous shopping period, starting in November and continuing through to the new year. As consumers prepare to spend in this period, retailers are poised to win over customers through dedicated campaigns and discounts, providing significant opportunities for conversion.

Quality for the festive season

Customer expectations for an easy online ordering and delivery experience have been notably rising over the past several years. That is only all the more true during the festive season, when gift giving and increased spending means that customers are looking for a smooth order and delivery. 

Reliable delivery experiences are the first step in nailing the post-purchase experience, but customers now expect more than pure dependability. Dynamic features such as live tracking and improved pre-emptive communication are noted by consumers as a priority, empowering the customer with greater knowledge and relieving the anxiety of anticipating an order. 

In turn, customer loyalty rides on the quality of these online and post-purchase experiences. Poor delivery performance can endanger a retailer’s customer lifetime value, with 78% of UK consumers unlikely to purchase from retailers again following a negative delivery experience, as reported by DeliveryX

Evaluating couriers based on metrics such as first-time delivery success rate and attempted by expected date can provide retailers with proper insight into the quality of their current delivery partners and potential areas for improvement. HIVED sits at 99.36% first-time delivery success and 99.86% attempted by expected date, which provides an industry leading benchmark for these metrics.

Retailers thus have the opportunity to build significant long-term customer loyalty from this period; whilst poor delivery performance can endanger a retailer’s customer lifetime value, reliable and modern delivery experiences encourage a repeat purchase.  

Convenience over cost

In addition to seeking out high quality deliveries, customers are also much more willing to pay for delivery costs in exchange for speed and convenience, particularly during the festive season.

Based on Metapack’s research, during the holiday season 61% of consumers are willing to pay up to £6 in delivery costs for same-day, next-day, or nominated-day delivery and around 50% expect their order to arrive within two days. With cost long being the primary customer concern in retailers’ minds, this holiday period marks a notable shift in customer attitude away from cost over speed. Services such as same-day and next-day delivery are now the norm rather than the exception and retailers who do not yet have a same-day delivery strategy may benefit from moving in that direction.

With the dominance of ecommerce this holiday season, retailers who invest in a modern delivery experience that provides speed, quality, and visibility to their customers will not only meet customer expectations, but also benefit from a customer-centric, strong post-purchase strategy far after the holiday festivities and discounts have come to an end.

HIVED is reinventing parcel delivery with efficiency, sustainability and modern technology, offering retailers same-day, next-day, and two-day services. Curious about shipping with HIVED? Fill out the contact form here or contact our team directly via live chat or email us at

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