What do online shoppers expect in 2019?
What kind of people do their shopping online? How do they like to shop? Well, the answer is as easy as reading through our 7-point list below! Once you've armed yourself with knowledge, we'll give you 7 more handy bits of advice teaching you how to satisfy these demanding customers.
When you've finished all of that, we'll leave you a checklist that you can use to ensure that you turn curious consumers into happy — and loyal — customers!
So, who are the new generation of online shoppers?
1. They are digitally-minded
According to FEVAD (France's E-Commerce and Distance Selling Union), 37.5m French people have shopped online — which accounts for 85.5% of all French internet users. The typical online shopper is 25-34 years old (with 93.8% of all purchases being made by people in this age range). However, even those aged 65 and older are in on the trend, too: over 80% of elderly folk have shopped online!
Source : Veka
2. They use multiple devices to do their shopping
Nowadays, people are just as likely to use their tablets or mobile phones to buy things online as they are their computers. In fact, 12.1m people in France used their phone to make at least one online purchase in 2017. In 2018, 39% of online shoppers bought something using their phones — an increase of 7% on 2017. But this figure is even higher among under-35s: 56%.
3. They are buying more
Although the value of the average shop actually reduced in 2018 in France (from €65 to €60) the amount of online purchases being made around the world is on the up. What this means is that shoppers are using the Internet to buy things more regularly. It's becoming a part of daily life. FEVAD stats show that there were 20.7% more online purchases made in 2018 than in 2017. This translates to 1.5 billion online purchases in France alone! 10% of those surveyed said that they buy something online at least once a week, and 29% of them do so 2 to 3 times a month.
4. They are well-informed — and demanding
Online shoppers are savvier nowadays. The proof? Well, 70% of online shoppers check customer reviews before they buy, and 95% of them say that they would prefer to see information about deliveries earlier when purchasing something (according to IFOP). Lastly, 64% say that they read a company's returns policy before they buy a product from them (UPS).
5. They're flexible
Shoppers haven't left the high street for online marketplaces. But, they do want more options for where to go when it comes to parting with their hard-earned cash. This is even more so the case if they need to return something they're not 100% satisfied with. 84% of shoppers want to be able to choose between returning something online or in store, and 42% admit that they would rather shop with an online business that allowed them to return their unwanted products in a physical location.
6. They're in a rush!
Did you know that 34% of online shoppers will stop making a purchase if they have to make an account during the process? On the other hand (in 2017) 34% of respondents said that they had signed up to a specialised delivery service. What do these people have in common? They want the process to be as smooth and seamless as possible. They don't want to have to enter extraneous data when buying something from a vendor, whether they shop with them once, or a hundred times.
7. They want the freedom to choose
Not only do consumers want a wide range of products to choose from, but they also want good service when it comes to having their purchases sent to them. For example, a Metapack study showed that 55% of consumers would stop making a purchase if there weren't enough options for delivery. And, once again, this applies to returns, too! Online shoppers want solutions tailored to them, both when buying something, and when sending it back.
So, what's a business to do to keep its customers happy?
How can you earn a thrifty shopper's trust? Take a look at our helpful tips below — they're sure to help you win over your customers! (Don't forget to check out our checklist at the end of the article, either: it'll have you on your way to satisfied shoppers in no time at all!)
1.1. Use online marketplaces as testing grounds for your products
Need to test the waters before you start selling your wares? Want to see how a new product will fare? With over 50% of online purchases being made on online marketplaces, these sites are perfect for gauging consumer interest in your products!
Top tip: be aware that online sales aren't always a good indicator of how well your product will sell in store. You can't show a customer a physical version of your product online, so it pays to have well-written descriptions and high-quality photos. Try to shoot your products against a white background, and have at least three photos of what you're selling. 🤗
2.2. Make as many points of entry for the customer as possible
If you have your own website, make it as responsive and versatile as possible. Make sure that visitors can view it regardless of whether they're on PC, tablet or mobile. Nowadays, there are plenty of sites that integrate this multi-device support into their website building services, such as Wix and Wordpress.
Top tip: visitors to your website will also want to be able to contact you wherever they are — at home, at the office or out and about with friends. Try to be flexible, providing them a contact number and email at the very least. You won't do badly out of offering them a chat option, Messenger or Twitter, either!
3.3. Offer free product returns
Online shoppers are buying more stuff online, but less per purchase. How can you buck this trend? One way is to offer your customers free returns: this goes down very well with shoppers, and it even encourages them to buy more.
In fact, online shoppers will buy 1 or 2 more items on average per purchase if a vendor offers them free returns. It's a matter of trust.
4.4. Be open and honest
Consumers are clever, and they'll find out everything they want to know about your products. So, don't hide it from them! In fact, it'll reflect badly on you if they feel like you've tried to hide something from them. It pays to be transparent, even if your product or service isn't perfect. Just look at Wish: their wild success despite a minimum three-week wait to receive some of their products shows that customers respect honesty.
Top tip: make your returns policy an asset. Write it clearly and make it available to your customers by putting it in the product description. It really goes down well with customers. In fact, we wrote an article all about this, which you can find here: click.
5.5. Offer your customers choice when it comes to delivery and returns
You don't have to have a shop in the high street for your business to be able to offer a physical location for customers to pick up their purchases. It's never a bad thing to have more ways of getting your products to and from your clients. They'll appreciate having the choice between the post office, a point relais locker and home or office delivery.
Just don't forget to be as flexible with their returns, too! How so, you ask? Well, our UPS-connected returns management platform isn't a bad start!
6.6. Contact your customers at the right time
Online shoppers are busy people! So, it's crucial to get the right info to them at the right time. What's the best way to go about it? Here's a brief outline explaining when and how to communicate with your customers — even how old they are can make a difference!:
7.7. Make the purchasing process as seamless as possible
So, a shopper has decided to pick you over your competitors. Success! Right? Well, there's more to it than that. A wholly positive customer experience means covering all your bases. Everything matters, from what colours your product comes in, to what delivery options there are, what payment options there are, etc. Therefore, you have to work with the right partners to offer your customers a solid, standout service all round. It'll pay off in good reviews, and more purchases!
What about returns, you ask? Same principle. Give your customers options depending on the issue: let them return their products, have them repaired or receive a refund. The more options the better. Customers pay close attention to positive comments, and this holds even truer when people rate the quality of your returns service!
Now that all is said and done, are you ready to step up to the challenge of satisfying the next generation of shopper? Download the happy e-shopper checklist and find out!
Written by Marie Chaudy
Marketing Manager at Revers.io, e-commerce and reverse logistics specialist