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June 5, 2013

Online Shoppers Looking for Better ‘Post-Shopping Experience,’ Says UPS Study

online_shoppingConsumers may be eager to spend money online, but Internet retailers are missing the mark when it comes to the post-shopping experience, a new study shows.

UPS, an American-based shipping company, says while the majority of shoppers are satisfied with their online shopping experience, there is “room for improvement” in the area of shipping — including flexibility of shipping options, cost and delivery timing and routes.

In 2013 alone, the number of consumers shopping online jumped by 15 percent. Data shows that consumers spent more than $186 billion online, accounting for 10 percent of discretionary purchases in the U.S.

Limited shipping options and high shipping costs may be a deal breaker for some shoppers, the study indicated, with 88 percent of consumers admitting they’ve abandoned their online shopping cart at the checkout for these reasons.

More than half of the shoppers surveyed indicated that they refused to purchase goods when the “shipping costs made the purchase cost more than expected.”

“…Clearly shopping cart abandonment is a significant issue that represents a lost opportunity for retailers. Not only is the issue a large one, but it is also growing — up seven percentage points compared to last year’s survey,” UPS says. “Looking at what information or options are important to online shoppers when going through an online check-out process, nearly three-quarters say they want to see free shipping options at check-out. The second most popular consideration (53 percent of respondents) is being provided with an estimated delivery date and shipping costs early in the process without having to enter all of their shipping information.”

But the news isn’t all bad. More than 80 percent of shoppers are happy with their online experience, and 76 percent of shoppers say they’re willing to add more items to their cart if it allows them to qualify for free shipping.

Improved shipping options would mean higher customer loyalty and referrals, UPS says.

“Factors such as offering free and discounted shipping continue to be an important way to recruit, reward and retain shoppers,” the study says. “Given the ubiquity of free shipping offers, consumers have come to expect free shipping at least as an option or at a certain threshold.”

The key to winning shoppers over, in part, is by providing shoppers with more information on delivery and shipping costs — with emphasis on “speed shoppers” who expect products in less than three days, delivering products on time and providing consumers with tracking information on their purchase.

“Despite increasing expectations, consumers are also willing to wait an average of a week to receive purchases,” UPS says “They are also willing to spend more with a retailer to take advantage of free shipping offers and to expedite shipping of certain items on certain occasions.”