UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Europe Study, made by comScore and UPS (NYSE: UPS), was just released and analyzes what online shoppers are looking for in the customer experience – from pre-purchase to purchase to delivery and returns. The study touches on mobile trends, social media impact and the integrated buying experience of shopping in physical stores and online – also known as omni-channel retailing.
According to study’s findings, consumers want more choices when it comes of online shopping, more control over the time when their purchases will be delivered, and a convenient returns process. Also, they are using social media to shop for the best deals and expect more shipping options from e-tailers.
For the study, comScore asked more than 5,500 online shoppers in six European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and United Kingdom) about their online shopping habits and experiences, including which factors led them to abandon their shopping carts and what motivates them to recommend retailers to friends.
The study showed that 41% of European consumers would more likely shop with a retailer if they could buy online and collect the item in-store, while 52% want the ability to buy online and return items in-store.
Mobile and social channels continue to change the way consumers shop, with half of shoppers who use a smartphone and nearly 60% of those using a tablet make online purchases, 44% of them saying they are less likely to comparison shop when using a retailer’s mobile app as opposed to a mobile website. At the same time, 50% of European consumers “liked” a brand on Facebook, while 86% of those consumers pay attention to updates from retailers.
Consumers in Europe and across the globe have a growing number of digital touch points, with more ways to stay connected with their favorite online retailers through every phase of the shopping, buying and fulfillment process (…) What will set apart one retailer from another in a competitive marketplace is how well they meet the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of customers.”
comScore senior director
Shoppers in Europe expect to see delivery options and total costs early in the purchase process. Flexibility is also important with 55% of European consumers surveyed wanting more flexibility to choose a delivery date and 53% wanting improved options for collecting packages at a convenient retail location.
Not surprisingly, visibility is something European consumers value with almost all (96%) saying tracking a purchase is essential or nice to have, 65% want to track through e-mail alerts, and 62% want the ability to track shipments directly on a retailer’s website.
According to the report, returns can help drive sales and improve customer satisfaction. Half of European online shoppers said that ease of returns/exchanges is an area requiring improvement, two thirds said they review a returns policy before making a purchase, and 61% stated they would shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy.