Report: the services consumers demand from e-commerce outlets

September 28, 2013

Business owners are constantly aiming to innovate in the e-commerce sector - determined to offer consumers what they crave before they even ask for it.

Business owners are constantly aiming to innovate in the e-commerce sector – determined to offer consumers what they crave before they even ask for it. However, as online shoppers are becoming more savvy, they’re also becoming more demanding. 

Online shoppers are asking for more services and features from the online retailers they frequent, according to the results of a recent study conducted by ComScore and UPS Canada. Consumers want much more than low-priced products and efficient online payment processing options – they also want increased transparency and a seamless returns policy, among many other factors. 

“This study highlights the critical three Cs of today’s retail online customer experience – channels, choices and convenience,” said Nicolas Forget, vice president of customer solutions at UPS Canada. “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.”

Channels, choices, and convenience
The report separated customer’s demands into three separate sections: choices, convenience, and channels. The concept of channels describes the idea that business should spread their offerings across in-store, online and mobile communication devices to offer as much value as possible to consumers.

Elaborate channel offerings was the single most important factor for online shoppers, having been cited by 65 percent of respondents, according to the findings. Roughly 30 percent of all shoppers want businesses to allow them to purchase products in-store with their mobile devices. Using multiple channels can also help a business to cut down on the amount of consumers who “showroom” their products: almost 50 percent of consumers who use branded mobile applications are less likely to compare prices than they would be if they were using a browser and a regular website.

Customers also desire a high level of customization in their online shopping experience, according to the report. The findings note that almost 90 percent of online shoppers have abandoned products they placed in their shopping cart before completing a transaction, however, most respondents also noted that they would be less likely to abandon their carts if shipping times and delivery schedules were communicated early on in the checkout process. 

A simple returns process is also extremely important in attracting new consumers, the results of the study stated. Almost half of all online shoppers have returned a product they purchased online, and 65 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy. 

“With more and more device options for staying connected to their favorite brands, retailers have a growing number of touch points through which to reach consumers,” said Susan Engleson, senior director at comScore. “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.”

Businesses quickly trying to offer consumers new modes of purchasing products
One of the way businesses are offering consumers increased levels of convenience – and a more efficient online shopping experience – is by trying to limit the amount of time customers wait to receive their products after making a transaction at an online credit card terminal.

Google recently made an attempt to cut down the waiting time so that consumers receive their products almost immediately. Earlier this week, the company began offering it’s “Google Shopping Express” program to individuals living in the day area, allowing them to have goods they ordered online delivered to their home on the same day the transaction was processed. By instituting programs that improve the efficiency of online shopping, businesses everywhere can give themselves an edge in the hunt for new shoppers and increased sales rates. 

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