Inventory and product selection are essential to customer loyalty at Christmas, Mirakl finds

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Mirakl, the leading global marketplace solutions provider, today announced survey findings showing that online holiday shopping will rise in 2018 and be increasingly dependent on enhanced online product selection and inventory availability. The Mirakl Christmas Season Shopping Survey 2018studied the 2017 behaviours and expected 2018 behaviours of peak shoppers across the UK, US and France, as well as the factors that will generate greater online customer satisfaction during the upcoming Christmas shopping season.

The study found that last year, 53% of consumers carried out at least three quarters of their shopping online. Additionally, the report’s findings concluded:

● Among the age groups surveyed, 50% of 25 to 34-year-olds say they plan to do even more of their gift buying online this year.

● Fifty-three percent of U.S. and UK shoppers do more than 75% of their shopping online, compared to 41% of French shoppers.

● Nearly half (48%) of British online shoppers experienced an item being out of stock while shopping on a retailer’s site; 83% of these shoppers defected to another retailer’s website to purchase the product.

Moving forward, over a third of shoppers plan to do more gift buying online this year; this figure rises to half when looking at 18 to 34-year-olds. Pricing and selection are key factors in a consumer’s purchasing decision. There is also increasing interest in additional value add services such as gift wrapping, installation of white goods, beauty services in store etc, 51% of consumers say they’d be interested in purchasing services alongside products. With time an increasingly precious commodity, shoppers expect retailers to be a one-stop-shop, offering complementary lines, related products and a wide selection per category. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case:● Nearly 40% of shoppers, including 45% of UK shoppers and 42% of U.S. shoppers, encountered a retailer’s website lacking a product or range of products that they expected.

● Fifty-five percent of consumers have stopped shopping with a retailer because a competitor offered a better selection of products (73% of Gen Z shoppers have done so).

● Eighty-six percent said last year they checked prices on Amazon before completing the purchase elsewhere, this figure rises to 90% if we look at 25-34 year olds.

These findings point to the significance of product range and availability, and the need for retailers to provide contingencies for popular products. Retailers can utilise an online marketplace strategy to close the assortment & availability gaps, without overhead, and can also drive more store traffic by letting customers ‘click and collect’ marketplace orders. Additionally, marketplaces make it easy to test new products and brands at no risk, and marketplace sales offer a higher profit margin than dropship or owned-product sales.

“This research offers valuable insights into why retailers need to prioritise their product selection this Christmas time, said Nick Bareham, UK country director, Mirakl. “The findings make it clear that customers want a broad range of products over the peak period, and if retailers can’t offer this they’ll simply go elsewhere, risking losing that customer forever. We believe that the best way to offer a better assortment of products and services is to leverage a network of sellers to quickly and easily expand your appeal – avoiding inventory and overhead costs.”