More than 70% of online shoppers in some European countries are ready to stop buying from those retailers that give a poor e-commerce experience.
Shoppers in Sweden (73%), the UK (71%) and Germany (65%) said, in research carried out for the JDA/Centiro Customer Pulse report, this was one of the key factors that would lead them to drop one retailer and shop with another.
The survey of 6,151 online shoppers, aged 18+ across the UK, Germany and Sweden found that nearly half of German respondents (48%) had experienced problems, compared to 47% of UK adults and 38% of Swedish respondents.
Late deliveries were a significant issue; 48% of German respondents had experienced late deliveries; 46% in the UK and 40% in Sweden.
Offering a convenient range of delivery choice is an issue that has been cited in other research, and was highlighted by the JDA/Centiro study too. In the UK, 46% of respondents choose to shop with a retailer that specifically offered multiple delivery options over one that only offered one delivery option. The corresponding result in Sweden and Germany was 32% and 29% respectively.
Click-and-collect remains a firm favourite, as part of the delivery mix and is already very well established in the UK where almost half (49%) of respondents who have made a purchase online in the last 12 months said they had used click-and-collect services. That’s around double the size of the German click-and-collect population; only 23% of German online shoppers have used it.
In Sweden, 64% said they would use click-and-collect if it was offered, and 42% said they would use ‘drive’ services for online grocery collection if it was available.
Cost and convenience were given as the two main reasons for choosing click-and-collect by those who use it.
Returns continue to be an important factor when making online purchasing decisions, the Customer Pulse report found; 78% in Germany, 69% in Sweden and 63% in the UK, said the ease of being able to return items plays a part in determining which retailers they shop online with.
Despite the well-documented and clearly apparent importance of the returns process, many retailers across Europe are still leaving customers frustrated. When asked what their biggest bug-bear was when it came to returning online purchases, 37% of respondents in both the UK and Sweden, and 26% in Germany, cited having to pay for return postage and package. This was followed by having to return items by post or wait for a courier, which frustrated 24% of UK respondents who have shopped online, 18% in Germany and 12% in Sweden.
“As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, European retailers are not only having to contend with successfully managing vast fulfillment operations, but also with the decreased tolerance of customers for any problems that occur,” said Jason Shorrock, retail strategy director at JDA.
“The risk of damage to retailers’ brands is clear, with many customers willing to shop elsewhere as a result of a negative experience. The key point for retailers to note is that even while tolerance is falling, expectations are rising. Choice and convenience are becoming bigger priorities for shoppers, not just cost, which only adds to the fulfillment burden for retailers.
“The importance of excellent service, combined with good value and flexibility in delivery options, cannot be underestimated. Retailers must ensure they develop the capability and flexibility built into their supply chains to meet customers’ high expectations.”