As cultures and shopping habits differ across the globe, so do delivery and return preferences.

The range of delivery options is one of the most important factors consumers will take into consideration when purchasing online, with the speed of delivery playing a key part in a customer’s decision making. Online buyers tend to expect parcels to be delivered within three to five days, whilst in Eastern Europe, shoppers are more willing to pay more for a faster delivery.

Common delivery locations, such as the home and workplace, are still the preferred options for European shoppers, who are also gradually adjusting to new and alternative delivery methods too. These include the likes of Click-and-Collect, local shop deliveries, and parcel lockers.



In France, home or workplace delivery is the most popular option (83%) followed by delivery to a local pick-up point (66%) and collection from a shop (26%). French customers look for reassurance when buying online and seek out delivery options and return policies that will offer them this confidence. Reliability, multiple delivery options, and speed are considered key for French customers. 77% of shoppers in France consider free returns as the most influential factor when buying online, followed by tracked packages and clear communication.


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In Germany retailers, such as Zalando and Saturn, have launched same-day delivery services, which has been widely welcomed amongst shoppers. German consumers also have high demands for low-cost shipping, a speedy delivery, and a selection of multiple delivery options. The choice of having several delivery methods alone can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction in 79% of cases.

Alternative delivery solutions are offered by Hermes Parcelshops and DHL Packstations, where customers can expect deliveries at agreed times. Research shows that preferred time-slots in Germany are between  08:00 – 10:00 and 10:00 – 12:00 and German customers are also open to Click-and-Collect options, with more than half saying they would like to use such a service. It is currently being offered in Germany by Saturn, Kaufhof and other large retailers.

The overall delivery performance in Germany is high (85%), although returns expectations and rates are quite high too, particularly in the fashion industry. German customers expect returns to be free and refunds to be made quickly. In the hopes of reducing the future returns rate, ‘virtual fitting rooms’ have been introduced to help customers when buying clothes online.


Two-thirds of shoppers have already used the pick-up delivery option in stores or other collection points. However, 74% of online customers still prefer home delivery, followed by workplace delivery and other accessible pick-up locations. The UK customer expects a delivery within three to five days and is strongly influenced by the shipping costs when deciding to buy from the same seller again.


In the Netherlands, free shipping is one of the most important factors in purchasing decisions. Dutch shoppers are impatient when it comes to product deliveries, with 37% of shoppers unhappy to wait for their parcels for more than two days. Home deliveries and the in-store shopping experience are preferred, and in turn, have a lower return rate.


In Spain, free delivery is a fundamental decider when buying online, with 64% of consumers considering it an important factor.


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Although Spanish customers may expect free delivery, they are more patient when it comes to receiving their order, happily waiting between three to five days. Other factors the Spanish find important are a selection of delivery options to choose from and clear return procedures.


Italians tend to buy less online in comparison to other European countries, but when they do, they tend to be more patient. Low-cost shipping is a key influencer for Italians (63%) with a preference for home deliveries. 65% of Italians find clear explanations and instructions for returns important, even though as a country they tend to have lower return rates, similar to Poland.


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In summary, it is important to tailor your delivery and returns processes and policies when operating in different European markets. Some cultures value low cost over fast delivery, whilst others place a high importance on free returns. Getting the mix right for each country is critical for any e-commerce business. If you would like help expanding into new markets and tailoring your content and approach, please get in touch.