Consumers want more choices from shopping online and easy returns, study shows

Consumers want more choices when it comes to shopping online, more control over when and where their purchases will be delivered, and a convenient returns process.
Those are the key findings of a European study of the 2013 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper from comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, and UPS.
The study touches on mobile trends, social media impact and the integrated buying experience of shopping in physical stores and online – also known as omnichannel retailing.

Earlier this year, comScore asked more than 5,500 online shoppers in six European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) about their online shopping habits and experiences.

The study, which included more than 1,000 UK respondents, covered factors such as what leads them to abandon their shopping carts and what motivates them to recommend retailers to friends, providing insight to help retailers increase sales. For example, 47% of UK consumers said they would more likely shop with a retailer if they could buy online and collect the item in-store, while 58% want the ability to buy online and return items in-store.

Mobile and social channels continue to change the way consumers shop. Forty five per cent of UK shoppers who use a smartphone and 64% who use a tablet make online purchases on their devices. Forty nine per cent said they are less likely to comparison shop when using a retailer’s mobile app as opposed to a mobile website. At the same time, more than half of UK consumers interviewed have “liked” a brand on Facebook, while 88% of those consumers pay attention to updates from retailers.

“Consumers in Europe and across the globe have a growing number of digital touch points, with more ways to stay connected with their favorite online retailers through every phase of the shopping, buying and fulfillment process,” said Susan Engleson, comScore senior director. “What will set apart one retailer from another in a competitive marketplace is how well they meet the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of customers.”

Channels, choices and convenience

Shoppers in the UK expect to see delivery options and total costs early in the purchase process. Flexibility is also important with 45% of UK consumers surveyed wanting more flexibility to choose a delivery date and 35% wanting improved options for collecting packages at a convenient retail location.

Not surprisingly, visibility is something UK consumers value with almost all (96%) saying tracking a purchase is essential or nice to have, 69% want to track through e-mail alerts, and 63% want the ability to track shipments directly on a retailer’s website.

“As consumers in Europe move more of their shopping online, their expectations of what retailers should offer continue to grow,” said Gunnar Adalberth, business development director, UPS UK.

“Today these consumers expect online retailers to provide a robust and complete omnichannel shopping experience. UPS is positioned to help UK retailers, large or small, develop innovative logistics solutions that make them successful with their online customers.”

Hassle-free returns

According to the report, returns can help drive sales and improve customer satisfaction. Thirty eight per cent of online shoppers in the UK said ease of returns/exchanges is an area requiring improvement, 58% said they review a returns policy before making a purchase, and 60% stated they would shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy.

To download a copy of the report, infographic and animated video please visit