Shipping, Returns High Cross-channel Priorities

Published on July 23, 2010 | Comments: 0
Friendlier shipping and return policies would encourage more consumers to purchase products online, according to a new study from Compete.

Online Shoppers Desire Free Shipping

Cross-Channel Purchasing
Close to 100% of respondents to the Compete Online Shopper Intelligence Study said free shipping would encourage them to purchase more products online. About 70% said free returns would do so. Another 60% mentioned in-store returns of online purchases, and about 50% said fast shipping would encourage more online purchases. Based on these results, consumers appear to want the same ease of acquiring and returning goods online as they do in the store. Despite recent attention on the integration of social media and shopping, few respondents said the ability to chat live with a sales rep (less than 20%) or shop online with friends (less than 10%) would encourage more online purchases.

Shipping Costs, Time Drive Customers to Stores

When asked why they are likely to research products online but purchase them in a store, about 70% of respondents said they don't want to pay for shipping, and about 60% said they want to get products immediately. Returns are also a big factor driving online research of in-store purchases, with more than 50% of respondents saying it is easier and cheaper to return products bought in a store. The ability to see and touch a product in person is also an incentive for consumers to research products online but buy them in person. Almost 70% like to see and feel the product before buying and close to 50% like to compare products in person.

Electronics Most Researched Online

Electronics top the list when looking at the tendency to research online, with more than half of the consumers surveyed saying they research electronics online, but purchase in a store. Home-related products are ranked two through four (kitchen, home furnishing, home improvement), with about 40% of shoppers stating they research each of these categories online before purchasing offline. Compete advises this means that these retailers need to be especially diligent in providing consumers with a smooth cross-channel experience and start to think of every online shopper as a potential in store customer. These retailers are also advised to make sure they are present on “Where to Buy” lists on third-party sites so that they do not miss out on in-market consumers.

Consumers Ship to Store

An earlier iteration of the Compete Online Shopper Intelligence Study indicates a combined three in four (77%) consumers use the “ship to store” option with varied frequency when making an online purchase. Twenty-nine percent of consumers ship online purchases to the store occasionally, and 25% do so rarely. Another 16% ship to store often, and 6% always use this option. Only 23% of consumers say they never ship an online purchase to the store.

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