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Are You Giving Online Shoppers the Customer Service Essentials They Expect?

What are customers’ expectations for customer service when shopping online? ComScore’s new report, UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™: A Customer Experience Study, looked at consumers’ demands for multi-channel retailing and ecommerce to determine what they want from your business. Here’s some of what they found:

Online and Offline Integration

Customers want to shop how, when and where they want, which means your online and offline experience must be seamless. When it comes to ecommerce, they want more choices—for example, 44 percent say they are more likely to shop with a retailer if they can buy online, then pick the item up in-store. Sixty-two percent say they want to buy online, then return the items in-store.

Mobile and Social

Consumers are rapidly integrating mobile and social channels into the shopping experience, and a retailer’s smart use of mobile and social can help drive sales. For instance, nearly half (46 percent) say they are less likely to comparison shop if a retailer has a mobile app they can use, and 47 percent say they want to get mobile coupons delivered to their smartphone when they’re in or near a retailer’s physical store.

If you aren’t already convinced of the power of social media, consider this: Some 84 percent of online shoppers use at least one social media site. Deals and discounts still drive interaction with brands on social media; for instance, on Facebook (the most popular social media network for online shoppers), 60 percent say they will “like” a brand in order to get promotional offers.

Shipping

Choice is important in shipping as well–shoppers want to see a lot of shipping options when buying online. Still, free or low-cost shipping seems to matter most, with 78 percent saying they always choose the least expensive shipping method. Free shipping offered at a certain price point can help boost sales while controlling your costs: Some 75 percent of shoppers admit they’ve added more products to their shopping carts in order to get free shipping.

Next to free shipping, what shoppers care about most in the shipping process is being able to see their estimated shipping costs and delivery times before they check out. In addition, nearly all of them (97 percent) say they want the ability to track the shipment.

One extra that can give online retailers and edge is offering shoppers the ability to reroute a package in transit. Just 44 percent of consumers are currently satisfied with their ability to do this.

Returns

As shoppers get more comfortable with online shopping, they are also returning more products. In the study last year, 63 percent of shoppers carefully reviewed return policies before buying online; this year, 66 percent say they do so.

Hassle-free returns are important to keeping customers coming back. Some 82 percent of shoppers say they would complete a purchase if they know they can either return the item to a store or enjoy free return shipping. In addition, 67 percent say they would be more likely to shop more with that retailer, and 64 percent say they would recommend the retailer to others.

To download the full report, visit UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper.

Image by Flickr user IntelFreePress (Creative Commons)

 


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