September 30, 2013, 3:11 PM

Global consumers demand more from e-retailers

They want easy returns, free shipping and access to social and mobile channels.

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The desire for convenience in online shopping doesn’t end at the U.S. border.

Consumers hailing from Europe or Asia, Australia or Mexico, all have at least one thing in common:  They are demanding more from online retailers.

A new study from web measurement firm comScore Inc. of 14,000 online shoppers across the globe finds online shoppers want more information from the beginning of a shopping trip, more options during checkout and delivery, and more channels for interacting with their favorite retailers.  They also want easy returns, free shipping and access to social and mobile channels. The study, sponsored by shipping provider UPS, is part of the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper series that polls consumers around the world about their online shopping habits, satisfaction and features and services they would like retailers to improve or add.

The following are some specific findings from several countries involved in the survey:

Canada:

  • More than three-quarters of online shoppers say they have added items to their shopping carts in order to qualify for free shipping, suggesting that retailers’ minimum spending thresholds for free shipping may be effective at inducing consumers to spend more.
  • Nearly 50% have returned a product purchased online.
  • 65% of consumers will shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy.

Mexico:

  • 67% of shoppers want to be able to buy online and make returns in a store
  • 77% of online shoppers polled own a smartphone and 46% own a tablet.
  • 62% said they would buy more from a retailer who sends promotions and/or coupons to their smartphones that can be used in a store.
  • 97% use at least one social network and 49% have “liked” a brand on Facebook to receive a promotion or incentive.
  • 53% have added items to their shopping carts in order to qualify for free shipping.
  • 71% want more payment options—not enough or desired payment options is one of the top reasons they abandon shopping carts.
  • 69% say shipment tracking is essential, with many consumers wanting the ability to track a package directly from the retailer’s web site. 57% want to track shipments through a mobile device.
  • 50% say free shipping is a top reason they would be likely to recommend a retailer to a friend.

China:

  • Among Chinese smartphone and tablet owners, 78% and 81%, respectively, have purchased products through their devices—the highest percentage of any country in the global survey.
  • 61% have previously returned an online purchase and 74% complained about the return shipping cost.
  •  67% say they would shop more with retailers with lenient returns policies and 65% would recommend the retailer to a friend.  

France:

  • 50% of French consumers surveyed want more flexibility to choose a delivery date and 37% wanting more options for collecting packages at retail locations.
  • 97% say tracking a purchase is essential or nice to have, 70% want to track their packages through e-mail alerts, and 73% want the ability to track shipments directly on a retailer’s web site.
  • 49% of French consumers say they are more likely to shop with a retailer if they can buy online and collect the item in a store, while 58% want the option to buy online and return items in a store.
  • 42% of shoppers in the country who use a smartphone and 48% who use a tablet also make online purchases on their devices, and 40% say they are less likely to comparison shop when using a retailer’s mobile app as opposed to a mobile site.

Germany

  • 27% of German consumers say they would be more likely to shop with a retailer if they could buy online and collect the item in a store, while 42% want the ability to buy online and return items in a store.
  • Nearly half (45%) of shoppers in Germany who use a smartphone and 63% who use a tablet make online purchases on their devices. 47% say they are less likely to comparison shop when using a retailer’s mobile app as opposed to a mobile web site.
  • 44% of German consumers have “liked” a brand on Facebook, of those, 87% pay attention to social media updates from the retailers they like.
  • 44% of German consumers surveyed want more flexibility to choose a delivery date and 33% want more options to collecting packages at retail locations.
  • 94% say that tracking a purchase is essential or nice to have, 69% want to track their packages through e-mail alerts and 65% want the ability to track shipments directly on a retailer’s web site.
  • Half of online shoppers in Germany say ease of returns/exchanges is an area that needs  improvement. 71% say they review a returns policy before making a purchase, and 72% say they would shop more with retailers that offer a hassle-free returns policy.
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