New research has revealed the extent of negative delivery experiences on customer loyalty, with 78% of UK consumers stating they are not likely to shop with a brand again following a below par experience.
The ‘Exploring the Nuances in Ecommerce’ guide, launched by leading ecommerce shipping solutions, ShipEngine and ShipStation, includes a survey of over 3,000 consumers and 600 online merchants across six markets. The research looks at the drivers and deterrents of consumer loyalty in ecommerce and found that 71% of UK consumers rank ‘high shipping costs’ as the biggest barrier to becoming repeat customers.
Looking at customer loyalty drivers, the quality of delivery experience ranks as the third highest driver, with 51% of UK consumers surveyed citing it as a key reason why they regularly buy online from the same brand. Only affordable prices and product quality rank higher for UK consumers. Merchants agree on the importance of product quality and delivery quality as customer retention drivers, but disagree on the topic of affordability, ranking it as only their fourth most important retention driver.
As ecommerce habits have evolved, the majority of consumers now take a hybrid approach to shopping, with almost three quarters of UK consumers stating they shop both online and offline. In fact, the UK leads the way in omnichannel, with the region having the highest concentration of blended shoppers, across the six markets surveyed.
Health & Beauty comes out on top when looking at ecommerce purchases, with 65% of UK consumers having made an online purchase in this category over the past 12 months. DIY and Gardening is revealed to be the least popular, with 44% of consumers having bought a product in this category over the past year.
Impact of delivery options
When it comes to delivery options, consumers can be unforgiving. Almost 85% of UK consumers state that a lack of adequate delivery options can influence whether they abandon their cart at the online checkout. Looking at this further, over 61% of consumers state they will sometimes abandon their cart and 23% indicate they will quite often or always abandon their cart if their desired delivery option is not offered.
In contrast, over 26% of UK merchants surveyed believe a lack of delivery options offered at the checkout ‘never’ prevents consumers from finalising their purchase.
Tom Forbes, SVP of enterprise revenue at Auctane, ShipEngine and ShipStation’s operating group, said: “In today’s age of overwhelming choice, it’s never been easier for consumers to switch where they buy from. Unsurprisingly, in this environment, it’s never been more difficult for retailers to retain customers.
“There is no one right approach when it comes to running a successful ecommerce business, but as our new research highlights, the key is to understand how different consumers shop, where they shop and to learn their negotiables and non-negotiables. Only then can you get a clearer picture of how to turn potential consumers into repeat customers.
“As the online shopping experience has become synonymous with the delivery experience, consumer expectations have risen. Just one negative delivery experience can sour consumer perception of a brand and have a detrimental impact on their bottom line.
“The ecommerce market today will favour those who understand the opportunities and make the necessary investments in areas such as their delivery experience, omnichannel proposition and marketplaces. Those who don’t, will find life very difficult.”
Moving towards marketplaces
The research also highlights changing consumer channel preferences, with marketplaces becoming the most popular ecommerce medium to shop on across all the markets surveyed. Specifically, 51% of UK consumers prefer to buy on marketplaces vs 29% of consumers who prefer to buy directly on a brand’s website and 18% who would choose a brand’s mobile app. Additionally, the research reveals that while social commerce is a growing industry, at present only 2% of UK consumers consider it their preferred ecommerce buying channel.
With more people choosing to recycle and resell their unwanted items, recommerce is a rapidly growing industry for consumers, retailers and marketplaces. Our research reveals that 47% of UK consumers resell their old purchases/unused items on third party platforms. With almost half of shoppers utilising recommerce channels, coupled with the increasing need for everyone to be more sustainable, this industry is here to stay. There is ample opportunity for brands and marketplaces to invest in recommerce strategies and delivery experiences to meet growing consumer desire to effortlessly resell.