Consumer expectations in 2019 spotlight marketplace dominance

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A new 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper from UPS puts a spotlight on marketplace dominance in the evolving customer expectations as the majority of global shoppers chose marketplaces as their shopping destination.

The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study evaluates consumer shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery. The study was conducted in early 2019 and is based on a PwC survey of more than 18,000 online shoppers worldwide. Respondents made at least two online purchase in a typical three-month period.

The research captured evolving trends, preferences and expectations of online shoppers in 15 countries and regions, including the US, Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and, for the first time, India. This latest Pulse examined the generational impact that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers are having on retail trends, offering retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers intelligence that can help them grow and compete globally.

Some 96% of the surveyed global online shoppers say they use marketplaces to regularly shop, with 36% of the same cohort intend to purchase more on the online platforms in the next 12 month, highlighting the growing importance of exposing your products to the large pool of marketplace shoppers.

Marketplaces are also serving as an exploratory playground for consumers browsing through thousands of products to pick one of their choices. Some 48% of the questioned consumers say they buy items on impulse on marketplaces as they aim to quench their thirst for shopping.

Meanwhile, the report analysed the themes of customer convenience and loyalty to find out:

Critical customer experience begins with research

Some 90% of customers research items before purchasing them online, while younger generations are most likely to be influenced by customer reviews. The majority (95%) of all buyers expect to see all shipping fees and taxes totalled before they’ll complete the purchase.

Online shoppers want to feel valued and be rewarded

As a result, about one in five (19%) of consumers have more than five loyalty memberships. Reasons are given for joining include free shipping, members-only discounts and rewards points.

Shoppers still want choice and convenience, but they’d rather not pay for it

Respondents like next-day deliveries, but they will consider other options – such as lower fees or incentives – for slower shipping.

Millennial shoppers are more likely to choose accelerated delivery options than other age groups. Generally, though, online shoppers show a very low appetite for paying for shipping. That’s why they’ll take various actions to obtain free shipping, including adding items to the cart (36%), choosing the slowest transit time (32%) and searching online for a promo code (32%).

Some 56% of online shoppers track deliveries, with Americans the most likely to be active trackers.

Returns remain key to creating return customers

Returning merchandise remains a key demand for online shoppers, with 73% of surveyed consumers responding that the returns experience affected whether they would continue shopping with a retailer. Globally, 36% of online shoppers returned an item in the previous three months.

Globally, about two-out-of-three shoppers (63%) ship returns back to sellers/retailers. This method is the most popular in Europe and Asia-Pacific (APAC), where 67% of shoppers ship their returns. Meanwhile, the main reason cited for a poor returns experience is a delay in getting a refund (25%). Having to pay for a return annoys a significant percentage of consumers (24%), as does a delay in receiving an exchange or a replacement item (21%).


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