For generations, shopping was limited by physical borders. Purchasing products internationally took time and was complex. But with the global connectedness of the internet, retail has gone worldwide. That’s a primary takeaway from the recently released global UPS Pulse of this Online Shopper study, which recorded the changing behaviors and preferences of internet shoppers in six markets including the U.S., Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
The study, which is based on based on a comScore survey of more than 18,000 online shoppers worldwide, offers five things smart and savvy retailers should consider:
Deliver a Consistent Experience
Despite geographical distance, shoppers around the world similarly use a combination of multichannel and single-channel purchase options when buying. In the U.S., 85% of respondents were happy with their overall online shopping experience, although just 65% where satisfied with their purchasing experience in physical stores. Bridging this gap, with crossover opportunities, like in-store pickups and returns for online orders, can help increase physical store engagement while also improving overall shopper satisfaction.
Offer Flexible Delivery Choices
Shoppers are given freedom of choice by delivery alternatives. While in the U.S. just 37% of online shoppers favor alternate delivery places, such as access points—a much greater percentage of shoppers in Asia (59%) and countries like Brazil (55%) and Mexico (52%) prefer alternate delivery locations over conventional delivery. Shoppers are even more interested in these choices if a shipping-fee reduction is supplied.
Elevate the Experience
Shoppers across all regions were satisfied with their online shopping experience than they were with the in-store shopping experience. This may just be a result of the ease of shopping online in the home—but that does not mean that you shouldn’t keep retail locations relevant and enhance the overall in-store experience.
Both in-store and online design is how shoppers get to know and understand your company’s brand. Many shoppers, although they are making purchases online, grow to appreciate a brand when they visit a store or get to handle the products in reality as opposed to virtual experiences. Rather than avoid it, these shopping patterns should be taken advantage of by improving in-store employee knowledge of products and helping to facilitate multichannel purchases.
Enable the Shopper
More than 90% of respondents in Asia, Mexico and Brazil used their smartphones while buying at a store to look up study product details and product testimonials. In the U.S., that number was high at 70%. This is a developing trend, so it is important for brands to elevate this experience through choices like QR codes that are scannable on merchandise tags. By using methods like these, it is possible to direct visitors to your site for testimonials and information to better control their shopping experience and keep the sale.
Research and Integrate with New Technologies
While comfort with chatbot technology was still less than 50% in most countries, users are beginning to adapt to chatbots for receiving product information, returning products and even ordering products online. Incorporating technology, such as rewards apps that engage shoppers and challenge them to visit in-store locations, can also increase engagement and add a more personalized feel to your brand experience. Other technologies that allow users to customize delivery options can enhance satisfaction with the overall purchasing process. Online shoppers are indicating that these enhancements are valuable to them whether shopping online or in-store.
To keep up with today’s savvy online shopper, brands have to allow flexibility, personalization, and encourage engagement through unique technologies to keep shoppers satisfied. There are many avenues to improve online shopper satisfaction — adjusting for these five steps will have your customers coming back for more.