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New Study Reveals What Online Shoppers Value Most

Online Shopping

As eCommerce is soaring with total U.S. sales predicted to surpass $604.2 billion by the end of the year, determining customers' online shopping preferences and what strategies brands can execute to meet customer expectations are becoming very crucial.

The number of U.S. and Canadian consumers who reported purchasing at least $100 of goods per month online jumps from 57.8 to 59.8 percent and from 56 to 62.9 percent respectively. While marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay have always been popular, loyalty to these platforms also skyrocketed year-over-year in 2018, with 78 percent of Americans (+5.4 percent) and 66.7 percent of Canadians (+8 percent) maintaining a membership to an online marketplace. What's more, membership to these platforms remains consistent across age groups, indicating the ageless appeal of the channel.

Radial, a bpost group company, announced the results of its new global consumer insights study, "Cracking the Code: What Online Shoppers Value Most." The study surveyed more than 2,000 consumers across the United States and Canada.

Topping the list of valued offerings is affordability, with consumer willing to compromise on delivery time in exchange for receiving their order for free. In fact, while 35.1 percent of Americans expect their goods to arrive in two days or less, only 24.3 percent would be willing to pay up to $10 for delivery. Going a step further, an enormous 64 percent of U.S. shoppers expect free delivery for all online purchases, clearly indicating an increased importance on savings over speed.

Return processes also play a major role in the way consumers purchase online goods. Specifically the findings showed that:

  • 51 percent of Americans and 49.3 percent of Canadians avoid purchasing goods from online retailers who do notoffer free returns, meaning that these brands have lost half of all prospective customers before the shopping experience even begins.
  • Roughly half of all consumers (49.1 percent of Americans and 50.9 percent of Canadians) reported that physically shipping their returns was the single greatest challenge when returning online goods.
  • Clothing and accessories is the largest product category that consumers reported they are hesitant to purchase online in anticipation of returns, with 41.4 percent of Americans and 50.9 percent of Canadians opting not to purchase. Customers were relatively cautious with jewelry and luxury items as well, with 30.7 percent of Americans and 32.7 percent of Canadians avoiding such purchases online.
  • For both Americans and Canadians, using pre-paid return labels and packaging is the preferred method for returning goods (51 percent and 39.4 percent, respectively). However, another quarter of American (24.6 percent) and Canadian (25.4 percent) shoppers prefer to manage their returns online and ship items back on their own, and yet another 15.5 percent of Americans and 20.7 percent of Canadians prefer to return items at brick and mortar locations. This indicates that while consumers do have clear preferences with regard to returns, there is still no universal solution, indicating the need for options that allow customers to select their own journey.

With a pre-integrated, modular stack of technologies and technology-driven operational services, Radial enables turnkey eCommerce for brands and retailers who are focused on driving a seamless yet profitable customer experience from start to finish. From order management to payments, fulfillment to customer care, Radial arms retailers with the tools they need to meet evolving customer expectations and drive the results imperative for success. To learn more about how brands can thrive in the wake of ever-changing customer expectations, read the eBook here.