By Christine Kern, contributing writer
New Survey Shows E-Shoppers More Satisfied Than Their Brick-and-Mortar Counterparts
The vast majority of online shoppers say they are satisfied with their online shopping experiences, while far fewer say they are happy with their in-store shopping experiences, according to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study, which was administered by comScore. A full 83 percent of e-shoppers reported satisfaction, compared to only 63 percent of brick-and-mortar shoppers.
The survey was developed to evaluate consumers’ shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery, and results were collected through a survey of 5,800 U.S. online shoppers between Feb. 27, 2014 and March 9, 2014.
Among the key takeaways of the report are the fact that convenience was considered the most important factor for most respondents. Although nearly 90 percent of retail purchases in the U.S. are transacted in physical stores, 55 percent of shoppers said they preferred to buy products online, regardless of how they research products and prices.
Another important takeaway is that comprehensive information is essential. Investment in content, ranging from photography to educational tools, must be weighed carefully, and can support researching in advance of store visits. Retailers are not always supplying enough information to facilitate shopper decision-making, which often results in lost sales.
Retailers must now make it a top priority to deliver an efficient shopping experience for all devices – desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet. During the researching process, consumers rely on detailed information such as item descriptions, ratings/reviews and images. In fact, 43 percent of mobile users prefer to shop on desktops/laptops over mobile devices because the former produces clearer images. Nearly half of all respondents said they prefer a retailer's full website vs. a mobile web site or mobile app.
Although desktops/laptops are consumers’ preferred buying channel, respondents use their smartphones for tracking deliveries (28 percent), researching products prior to visiting a store (25 percent), researching products and alternatives during a store visit (22 percent) and locating stores or checking inventory levels (22 percent).
Convenience Trumps All In Product Delivery And Return Experience
Of all online shopping perks, free shipping on purchases topped consumers’ preferences. Up to 85 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to wait five days for their purchases, as long as they received free shipping. As many as 83 percent of customers say they will wait an additional two days to receive free shipping. And nearly all of shoppers (93 percent) take action to qualify for free shipping, and the leading action taken is adding more items to the cart (58 percent).
And although online shopping satisfaction is high, online return volume has increased between 2013 and 2014. In fact, 62 percent respondents have returned or exchanged an item they purchased online, compared to 51 percent in 2012. To that end, consumers also expect returns to be free, with 82 percent of respondents saying they would complete a purchase if they could either receive free return shipping or return the item to a store.
And finally, Logistics plays a key role on all points of the path to purchase. From fulfillment, through delivery, to returns, logistics plays a major role in customer experience in all phases of purchase. Consumers’ desire for a full range of delivery options at checkout, as well as convenience and flexibility of returns, should be key areas of retailers’ focus.
Click here to access the complete version of the report.