New research by ChannelAdvisor, a CommerceHub company, reveals that 73% of consumers now prioritise delivery in fewer than two days when making an online purchase.
This comprehensive study, under the "2023 Online Consumer Behaviour Global Report," analysed the behaviour of over 6,000 consumers worldwide, including more than 1,000 Australians, providing insight into their preferences, motivations, and online shopping trends.
The data signifies a marked shift in consumer expectations, driven predominantly by the trend towards same-day and next-day delivery. Furthermore, the survey underscores the pivotal role of price and customer reviews in the consumers' purchasing decision process.
Another significant finding from the report suggests that while consumers are ready to pay more for swift delivery, a majority (54%) feels that it is unfair to be charged for returns.
This sentiment is echoed by nearly two-thirds of consumers (65%), who stated they would only buy from websites offering free returns. An arduous returns process also discourages customers, with 65% admitting to having abandoned the prospect of returning an item as it was too time-consuming.
Given the ongoing concerns about the cost of living, it comes as little surprise that price remains a crucial determining factor in buying decisions. A staggering 98% of shoppers said they consider price an essential element when making purchases.
In addition, more consumers (60%) are signalling their interest in omnichannel options, considering click and collect services an important aspect of online shopping.
"Retailers slower on delivery need to re-prioritise," suggested Gordana Redzovski, CommerceHub's managing director for APAC. According to her, "the prevalence of near-instant shipping from Amazon has fundamentally altered consumer expectations around convenience. Quick logistics is now not just a nice-to-have but also a fundamental requirement."
Notably, the research also emphasises the underestimated impact of the returns process. With a majority insisting on free returns, brands need to recalibrate their strategies. Retailers must strike a balance between satiating consumer demands and preserving profitability.
A convoluted returns process might dissuade some from returning items, which may be momentarily beneficial for the sale but could ultimately damage the customer relationship.
Redzovski advised retailers to observe the efficiency of promotions and their effect on returns processing, especially during peak seasons characterised by increased promotions.
She also emphasised the benefits of synchronising inventory across platforms to prevent overselling and enhance customer satisfaction. Effective inventory management and data utilisation can contribute to operational efficiency and significantly affect shipping speed.
Moreover, the growing trend of omnichannel shopping is becoming more appealing to consumers. Failure to provide these services could put online retailers at a disadvantage amongst competitors. To maintain relevance and gain a competitive edge, brands and retailers must adopt a fast, flexible, consumer-centric approach.
The "2023 Online Consumer Behaviour Global Report" was conducted by Dynata, surveying 6,048 consumers across six countries - the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Australia, all of whom had purchased products online in the past 12 months.