If you're like most e-commerce retailers, you've had a pretty busy year in 2020. The COVID-19 crisis has turned more and more consumers into frequent online shoppers over the past months. 36% of European online shoppers think they'll keep buying more products online instead of in physical stores after the corona crisis. And with the peak holiday season approaching, things are about to get even busier.
Now's a great time to gear up your strategy to get even more out of this year's holiday boom. And the best place to start is by understanding your shoppers' expectations, so you can give them exactly what they want. At the same time, those expectations are changing in the era of COVID-19. Fortunately, a broad new study focuses precisely on what e-commerce shoppers expect right now. Here are some key takeaways.
65% of shoppers abandon carts if shipping is too expensive.
Free shipping might seem like a heavy expense for some e-retailers, but there are many good reasons to give it a try this holiday season. According to the study, 70% of online shoppers say they'll add more items to their cart to reach a free shipping threshold. That makes free shipping a win-win for you and your customers: they'll enjoy free delivery, and you'll enjoy selling more stuff.
Even if you decide to charge for shipping, just be sure to keep it as affordable as possible and communicate the costs upfront. After all, the study shows that nearly two-thirds of shoppers will click away from your store if the shipping costs are too high.
Think about these key shipping-related facts:
So, how can you cater to your customers' wishes this holiday season?
Short answer: not really! Interestingly, the study found that most shoppers don't have a strong preference for one delivery company over another. Less than a quarter of shoppers say that carrier choice has a strong influence on their purchasing decisions, and only less than half say it has any influence at all. If they do have a preference, they mostly prefer national delivery companies.
That's good news for e-commerce retailers. It gives you more flexibility to handle peak holiday shipping. During an average holiday shopping period, couriers expect up to three times as many parcels as usual. It regularly leads to overloads and delays in shipping.
This year, considering the higher than usual volume of online shopping, you'll need to do everything you can to ensure your holiday packages arrive at your customers in time. After all, the study also shows that your customers tend to blame you (the retailer) and not the courier when there's a shipping delay.
So, how can you put these insights into practice to keep your shipments moving?
So, while free shipping and courier preference may not be deal-breakers for your holiday shoppers, the research shows that one factor can really make all the difference: return shipping.
According to the research, most online shoppers now consider return shipping an essential aspect of online shopping. Especially during the holiday gift-giving season, return shipping is crucial. No one likes to get stuck with an unwanted gift that's difficult or impossible to return.
The good news for retailers is that a customer-friendly return shipping procedure can actually boost customer retention and increase repeat business. Here are some key facts from the study to keep in mind:
Based on these insights, here are some ideas to consider when it comes to setting your return shipping policy for the holidays:
ChannelEngine and Sendcloud are joining forces to help you exceed your customer’s expectations! Make sure to expand your online sales on online marketplaces and give your customers a memorable online shopping and delivery experience. Automate your shipping and focus on what’s important for online shoppers. With a little luck, they’ll be back next year with an even longer shopping list.