The accelerated growth of ecommerce sales across the world during 2020 surprised no one, as online shopping became the only option for most consumers. But underneath the headlines, a more complex story of winners and losers in retail has emerged with one consistent story - those brands and retailers that could deliver a fast, seamless and convenient experience for customers were the winners.
Consumers tell Linnworks convenience is key
Just released research from Linnworks, from a survey of 1,000 UK and US shoppers, has found that overwhelmingly consumers want convenience. And will reward those brands and retailers that can offer a convenient shopping experience with higher basket values, more frequent purchases and brand loyalty. Of those surveyed, 84% shopped more online in 2020 than they had previously, and 3 in 4 will make more online purchases after the pandemic, indicating how embedded online shopping behaviours are now in people’s everyday lives.
Checking out seamlessly
So what do consumers mean by convenience? According to the Linnworks research, 81% of shoppers are looking for a frictionless, cross device ecommerce experience. Guest checkout and having shipping details stored are top of shoppers’ convenience check lists. US shoppers, in particular, were 17% more likely to cite being able to have their shipping information stored by a retailer as a major consideration as to where they shop. Removing these points of friction for time-pushed customers gives them greater control over their check out experience and means they are likely to return to retailers where they can complete purchases on their own terms.
Convenience starts at the product discovery stage
Of those surveyed, two in three shoppers said they had given up on a purchase if the search process was too complicated and they couldn’t find what they wanted. More worryingly for some retailers, 58% said they had dropped ecommerce stores entirely because they were too complicated to use. Convenience also includes flexibility. Depending on shopper demographics, many want to be able to start a shopping journey on one device and finish on another. Gen Z and millennials are more likely to start shopping on mobile, while 68% of older age groups were more likely to shop via a computer, meaning you need to understand your customer’s lifestyle in order to create an optimal starting point for their shopping experience with your brand.
Flexible payment options and transparency on shipping and returns policies is key
Getting the right product in front of your customer is only the start - Linnworks research uncovered key points during the purchase process that are crucial to you winning the final sale. Flexible payment options, including ‘buy now, pay later’ are now expected to be offered as standard by consumers. The good news for retailers is that, according to Linnworks research, 89% of shoppers said payment options made buying decisions faster and easier, and 84% were more willing to buy big-ticket items if they had a choice as to how they pay. Shipping and returns policies are also major factors that impact on whether a customer will complete a purchase. Linnworks research found that 72% of shoppers had abandoned a purchase over lack of transparency about shipping options during the purchase process, and 72% of shoppers were influenced by the company’s returns policy. This demonstrates that convenience and transparency in the fulfilment process is just as important as getting the right product in front of your customer.
One standout result from the research - 78% of shoppers in the survey now value convenience in ecommerce more than a year ago - means creating a convenient shopping experience for your customers is essential. Understanding what convenience actually means to your target audience is now crucial for retailers to win in the new, effortless economy.