In a statement, the Porto institute reveals that the study, published in the North American magazine MIT Sloan Management Review, analysed the behaviour of consumers relating to more than 150,000 online transactions in the food retail area.

The study, developed by researchers from INESC TEC and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (United States of America), revealed that a delivery with a specific day and time selected by the consumer is “more valued” than a delivery made in a short space of time.

The research indicates that "consumers are even willing to wait longer for a delivery as long as they can receive the product on a day of the week that is convenient", reveals the institute.

The data collected also show that consumers “prefer to receive their orders on Thursday or Friday and not during the weekend”.

Customer loyalty and the size of the shopping basket are also valued factors, with the data revealing that frequent customers are willing to "pay more for the same delivery attributes compared to non-loyal customers" and customers with larger shopping baskets are "willing to pay double the delivery fee to improve timing accuracy”.

Pedro Amorim, a researcher at INESC TEC and a professor at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto (FEUP), stresses that “accuracy instead of speed is fundamental”.

“Executing a strategy solely dedicated to speed can be too expensive, especially for food retailers whose margins are notoriously small. There is a less expensive option worth considering, analysing operational data on delivery patterns,” he said.

In this context, the researchers recommend that food retailers invest in a strategy that combines speed, precision and flexibility.

“It is essential to analyse consumer behaviour and to adapt delivery strategies according to customer segments and communicate their advantages over competitors”, says INESC TEC, adding that the study's findings can be applied to other retailers.