Online retail sales continue to grow at a blistering pace. Further, electronics OEMs are counting on these retailers to sell their hottest and most innovative gadgets. In a quest for more choice, control, and convenience, smartphone-wielding consumers are turning to online resoures.
However, a new report from UPS suggests that the expectations of online shoppers continue to grow as well. As a matter of course, tehse buyers scroll through product reviews, read up on product details. and compare prices across the growing array of online marketplaces and cross-border e-commerce sites, according to the recently released global edition of UPS’ Pulse of the Online Shopper.
The survey produced with comScore asked 18,000 consumers around the globe – people who said they typically made at least two e-commerce purchases during any three-month period – what they expect when shopping. Their answers confirmed that e-commerce is here to stay and continues to grow dramatically globally.
Here are five key takeaways for retailers and their logistics chains:
- Go global: Perhaps the study’s biggest takeaway is that consumers think very little of borders when shopping online. A large majority of shoppers in Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Europe reported buying from International retailers. In the U.S., nearly half (47%) of shoppers made international purchases. If you’re a retailer, do you need to broaden your focus? Is your current supply chain able to deliver the global impact you could deliver?
- Consider marketplaces: It’s well known that consumers love marketplaces, but the report showed that using them is almost universal. In Mexico, 99 percent of shoppers reported making a marketplace purchase, compared with 98 percent in Asia and 96 percent in both Europe and Canada. Not every business is going to be on a marketplace, but if you’re not, should you have a presence? If no, then how is this model affecting your field, peers and competitors?
- Offer options: There was a time when consumers would take what you send them on your terms. No more. Consumers continue to demand flexible delivery options. That means not just quick fulfilment of orders and expedited shipping of goods, but lots of last-mile delivery alternatives – everything from in-store pick-up to delivery to lockers or other alternate locations. Is your supply chain letting you be flexible? Do you offer enough choice and control to shoppers?
- Think seamless : Repeat after me: Omnichannel remains relevant. Today’s shoppers often search for products on one channel and then purchasing the goods on another. So, retailers need to be omnichannel, too, offering consumers both online and in-store experiences. Shoppers also expect retailers to deliver a uniform brand experience across all their channels with guaranteed price parity between the physical and digital domains.
- Be physica l: If you’re an online-only store, stop reading. But if not, don’t let your physical space languish. Shoppers expect stores and showrooms to provide an inspiring and relevant experience. So while retailers invest in their online operations, as well as in technologies like chatbots, they will also need to continue to invest in their brick-and-mortar operations.
What new reality are you seeing in the e-commerce realm today? Let us know in the comments section below.