A glitzy website or a modern app isn't enough to satisfy today's savvy online shoppers. They demand upfront transparency on fees, control over the delivery process, a clearly-stated returns policy and loyalty rewards, according to new research from the 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online ShopperTM study.
The 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study captured evolving trends, preferences and expectations of online shoppers in 15 countries and regions, including the U.S., Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and, for the first time, India. The study reveals interesting insights about shoppers in India. Indian shoppers are most quality conscious, most active in returning products and are also more likely to voice complaints.
Quality matters most in India (shoppers make 66 per cent of international purchases for that reason), followed by the cost of delivery (41 per cent), speed of delivery (39 per cent) and trust in the international seller (39 per cent).
Shoppers in India led in returns - 68 per cent of Indian online shoppers send an item back to the seller/retailer. They were also most vocal about voicing complaints about the retailer. At 53 per cent, Indian shoppers led the study in terms of registering complaints about the retailer as compared to their global counterparts and 30 per cent posted a negative review on social media followed by 25 per cent in the Asia Pacific and 22 per cent in the Americas.
This latest Pulse examined the generational impact that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers are having on retail trends, offering retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers intelligence that can help them grow and compete globally.
"For seven years, the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper has spotted emerging e-commerce trends before they became mainstream", said Kevin Warren, UPS Chief Marketing Officer.
"This proprietary research is just one way UPS continues to offer valuable insights that help retailers and shippers make strategic decisions to meet changing global consumer needs", he added.
"India's e-commerce market is poised for a significant leap. According to the report by WorldPay, by the year 2034, it will overtake the U.S. to become the second-largest in the world", said Rachid Fergati, Managing Director Indian Sub-Continent.
"As is evident from the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study, consumers in India are the most demanding and vocal about service quality expectations. As a result, online retailers have to adapt their supply chains to this consumer trend, a shift reflected in faster and efficient fulfillment experiences with full-service returns policy", he added.
Key themes pulled from this year's study include:
1. Critical customer experience begins with research. Ninety per cent of customers research items before purchasing them online, while younger generations are most likely to be influenced by customer reviews. Ninety-five per cent of all buyers expects to see all shipping fees and taxes totalled before they'll complete the purchase.
2. Online shoppers want to feel valued and be rewarded. As a result, about one in five (19 per cent) of consumers have more than five loyalty memberships. Reasons given for joining includes free shipping, members-only discounts and rewards points.
Meanwhile, online marketplaces remain popular: Ninety-six per cent of online shoppers have used a marketplace, while 36 per cent of consumers worldwide intends to purchase more on marketplaces in the next 12 months. Worldwide, 48 per cent of consumers buys items impulsively on marketplaces.
3. Shoppers want still want choice and convenience, but they'd rather not pay for it. Respondents like next-day deliveries, but they will consider other options - such as lower fees or incentives - for slower shipping. Millennial shoppers are more likely to choose accelerated delivery options than other age groups. Generally, though, online shoppers show a very low appetite for paying for shipping. That's why they'll take various actions to obtain free shipping, including adding items to the cart (36 per cent), choosing the slowest transit time (32 per cent) and searching online for a promo code (32 per cent).
Fifty-six per cent of online shoppers tracks deliveries, with Americans the most likely to be active trackers. (When it comes to offering visibility and tracking solutions UPS offers consumers UPS My Choice and the recently launched UPS My Choice for Business, designed for small and medium-sized businesses.)
4. Returns remain the key to return customers. Returning merchandise remains a key demand for online shoppers, with 73 per cent of surveyed consumers responding that the returns experience affected whether they would continue shopping with a retailer. Globally, 36 per cent of online shoppers returned an item in the previous three months.
Globally, about two-out-of-three shoppers (63 per cent) ship returns back to sellers/retailers. This method is the most popular in Europe and Asia-Pacific (APAC), where 67 per cent of shoppers ship their returns. Meanwhile, the main reason cited for a poor returns experience is a delay in getting a refund (25 per cent). Having to pay for a return annoys a significant percentage of consumers (24 per cent), as does a delay in receiving an exchange or a replacement item (21 per cent).
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