Canadian shoppers are increasingly demanding more from eretailers, and they’re spending more money. The new data came from comScore and UPS’s new report, UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study: A Customer Experience Study.
The study evaluated consumer shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery and is based on a comScore survey of more than 1,000 Canadian online shoppers.
Consumers want more information at the start of the online experience, more options during checkout and delivery, and more channels for interacting with their favourite retailers. A seamless returns process, free shipping and social and mobile access were rated among the most important needs of today’s online shopper. Furthermore, they use social media sites like Facebook to support their trusted ecommerce sites.
“This study highlights the critical three Cs of today’s retail online customer experience – channels, choices and convenience,” said UPS Canada’s Nicolas Dorget,. “Retailers can win shoppers over by providing a consistent and positive omnichannel experience. From mobile apps to social media platforms, today’s consumers value – and even expect – services to work together across the entire shopping continuum from pre-purchase to post-purchase.”
Shoppers showed a preference for retailers that deliver an integrated experience across all channels, including in-store, online and via mobile devices. 65 percent of them said the single most important factor was the ability to buy online and make returns in-store, followed by the availability of in-store pickup. Meanwhile, almost 30 percent of shoppers want to be able to purchase in-store with their mobile device, and want a mobile application for their smartphones.
Perhaps most interesting was the fact that nearly half of consumers using a retailer’s mobile app are less likely to comparison shop when using an app versus a browser. Not surprisingly, comScore’s Susan Engleson said “retailers that customize shopping experiences so that these experiences align with how customers use different devices and platforms have a real opportunity to build brand loyalty and drive sales.”
The report also indicated that shoppers want more control in online shopping. Having access to multiple options with regards to shipping and delivery policies was scared less people away (cart abandonment) upon checkout. Cart abandonment is a huge concern for ecommerce apps and their checkout points, whether it has to do with prompting the user to select a shipping method or even getting them to enter their credit card number. Just last week we wrote about a new mobile payments app that uses NFC technology to allow smartphones to instantly recognize credit cards. Triangle IO claims that two-thirds of all customers will drop out of a site when asked to manually enter their personal information.
The report noted that nearly 90 percent of online shoppers indicated they have placed items in their shopping carts and left the site without making a purchase.
Regarding the shipping phase of ecommerce checkouts, the report said that communicating shipping costs and delivery times early in the online shopping experience can help alleviate cart abandonment. Playing on modern shopper psychology, it said more than three quarters of online shoppers said they have added items to their shopping carts in order to qualify for free shipping, suggesting that retailers’ minimum spending thresholds for free shipping are effective at inducing consumers to spend more.
Finally, the study indicated that simple return policies drive satisfaction and repeat business, and that having a seamless returns process is essential. Nearly 50 percent of respondents have returned a product purchased online while 65 percent of consumers will shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy.
The report’s social media findings were also pretty interesting: 80 percent of online shoppers use Facebook, 58 percent of online shoppers said they “like” a retailer and of those, 87 percent said they keep up with that retailer’s Facebook updates.