The retail journey has changed forever. You no longer have to go to a regular store and browse the aisles – the only way to shop. More than ever is viewed online, more sales than ever are happening in digital spaces, and increasing pressure on retailers is causing changes – and new challenges – that continue to affect the shopping experience.
Understanding these changes is key to creating a successful customer cycle. More important, however, is understanding what the modern consumer is looking for. A series of recent reports provide some insight into the consumer in 2021 and what they say is important to them, giving retailers and brands a roadmap for meeting consumer needs.
The face of the internet consumer
In Jungle Scout’s Q1 2021 Consumer Trends Report, consumers reported that free shipping was the top reason to shop online. This rose from fourth place in the Q4 report, suggesting shipping costs were a smaller factor during the busy holiday season. The price decline, which ranks sixth in the Q4 report, climbed to second in the first quarter. Convenience was third in the first quarter after the poll leader in the fourth quarter.
A report that surveyed 1,005 U.S. consumers on January 26-29, 2021 found that 46% of consumers abandoned and forgotten items in their online shopping cart, suggesting that brands have work to do to attract these clients.
When it comes to which online stores are the most popular, it should come as no surprise that Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) topped the list with 73% of respondents saying they have shopped on Amazon.com at least once in the past three months. Amazon was followed by Walmart (NYSE: WMT) at 40%; eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) and purpose (NYSE: TGT) 18% each; as well as Kolya (NYSE: KSS) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) 10% each.
In terms of returns, 31% of respondents said they would return an item purchased from an online store. That number jumped slightly to 32% for Amazon shoppers, but both remained below 37%, who said they would most likely return to a brick-and-mortar store.
Consumers looking for products often start with Amazon, 74% of them say this is their first stop on the Internet. Search engines were also popular, with 65% saying that this is where they start looking for products. A brand or retailer’s website was quoted by 38%, followed by social media Facebook at 31%; YouTube – 29%; Instagram – 21%; and TikTok – 10%. (Note: respondents can choose multiple answers.)
However, when it comes to getting a product on time, Amazon is the obvious choice: 64% of those surveyed said they are turning to Jeff Bezo’s platform.
Where consumers start their journey to online shopping. (Photo: Jungle Scout)
Nearly three quarters of consumers – 73% – believe that most of their future purchases will be made online, and 43% said they would be fine if they never shop at brick-and-mortar stores again. A full 58% of consumers shop online at least once a week, if not more often.
In terms of price and shipping, 68% of all consumers said they were looking for the lowest price item online, but 48% said they would pay more for that item if it came with faster shipping. Interestingly, 55% of Amazon shoppers said they would pay more for faster shipping, although the company already offers free shipping for most of its items to Prime members.
SOTI’s Bricks to Clicks report found last mile delivery remains the most inefficient part of the entire e-commerce supply chain for 59% of US transportation and logistics companies. However, for the consumer, this item remains an important part of the online shopping experience.
In a Q4 2020 survey of 6,000 consumers by Arlington Research for the SOTI mobile platform, 67% of consumers said they want to see in real time the location of their Christmas gifts from the moment an online order is processed. Delivery delays in excess of two days scared off 38% of consumers who said they would look elsewhere for the product in these cases, while 57% said they were disappointed with the online order returns process.
Delivery management company Convey conducted its own research on Amazon, which led to the recent webinar “Amazon’s Moment of Opportunity and Retailer’s Moment of Opportunity.” A survey by the company found that 6 out of 10 consumers were more likely to make a purchase if the estimated delivery date was listed on the product card before ordering.
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“This is a very rewarding Amazon experience,” said Carson Krieg, co-founder and head of strategic partnerships, Convey.
Nearly half of consumers (47%) said they would like to be able to pick up an online order from a brick-and-mortar store on the same day if the retailer has a store nearby. This topic was also reflected in the SOTI report.
“When they’re under pressure, whether online or in-store, shoppers want a quality, personalized experience,” SOTI said in a report. “But they also want the ultimate in simplicity and convenience. We can expect these trends to spread not only to recreation, but to the rest of the year. “
Convey’s survey was conducted in December 2020, in the midst of the holiday shopping season, and asked 1,200 consumers 15 questions. The results showed that consumers are ambivalent about Amazon – even as the e-commerce giant continues to drive innovation in supply chains and reshape consumer demands. While 19.9% had a “very negative” view of Amazon’s impact on retail, and another 28.6% held a negative view, 49% of shoppers said they preferred to shop on Amazon because they believed they were the package will be delivered on time.
Despite negative attitudes towards Amazon, 28% of respondents said they make at least half of their purchases on Amazon.com.
Krieg said this indicates the importance of a strong order fulfillment program for all brands, not just Amazon.
See where shoppers have shopped online in the past three months. (Photo: Jungle Scout)
“2020 has been a challenging year for all retailers, including Amazon,” he said during the Convey webinar. “Amazon had the same capacity and capacity constraints as ordinary people … but they hired workers … and made the difficult decision to shut down their FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) program.”
Throughout Convey’s review, the topic of cost and shipping continued to emerge. Respondents said they would have preferred Amazon to a smaller retailer because of the cost of goods, with 33.7% saying the goods were more expensive in other stores. Additionally, 23.3% said shipping was either more expensive or not free for small businesses, while 22.1% said shipping would take longer.
“Some consumers were willing to wait longer for delivery … if it was free,” Krieg said.
Amazon Prime members are more likely to be wealthier shoppers. Of those with household incomes in excess of $ 75,000 a year, 41% bought half of their products on Amazon, and the delivery experience was “very important” for 64%, according to Convey. While 33% of these shoppers exclusively shopped at Amazon over the holidays, 24% said Amazon was having a negative impact on retailers.
Krieg said the lessons from Convey’s surveys are clear: brands not selling on Amazon should step up their delivery games.
Amazon currently handles over 50% of parcels, Krieg said, and while “many retailers won’t have enough room to do this,” the benefits Amazon has gotten from this is clear – and they are pushing others. to match this.
“Two-thirds of the country’s population (68%) say that if you screw up first [delivery]We’re not going to give you another chance, ”Krieg said.
What can retailers do?
Krieg advised retailers to offer in-store pickup and roadside pickup where possible, and to actively communicate with shoppers.
“You can promote your brand and take advantage of this opportunity by sending out more alerts for certain shipments,” Krieg said, noting that packages delayed due to weather or traffic could be alerts. He added that the more customer touchpoints, the better.
The consolidation of all communication and data flows – from distribution centers to delivery networks and stores – into one silo helps this process.
Krieg also stated that he is an active advocate for sustainable development. He noted that 30% of consumers under the age of 30 believe that Amazon is harmful to the environment, and according to the Boston Consulting Group, sales of sustainably sold products are growing 5.6 times faster than conventional products.
Show how you reduce waste by increasing efficiency through shorter supply chains that reduce emissions or lead to less food waste. “Emphasize how much slower and cheaper shipping methods can be rational choices,” he said.
“The consumer base will pay more for these products,” Krieg said.
“Two-thirds of the country’s population says that if you screw up first [delivery]we’re not going to give you another chance. “
– Carson Krieg, Co-Founder and Head of Strategic Partnerships, Convey
Shash Anand, vice president of product strategy for SOTI, said the technology offers retailers the opportunity to both improve delivery quality and increase confidence in the entire purchase.
“Almost half of consumers gave up online shopping because they didn’t trust the site. [would secure their data]- said Anand, noting that 57% trust well-known brands more.
SOTI provides technology that helps protect data privacy and improves shipping, including returns.
“Delivery [and returns] – not only an option, but also a necessity, Anand said. “Sixty-three percent of consumers would like the return process to be easier if it weren’t automated. [entirely]… This is an opportunity for retailers to improve their game. ”
Anand said retailers should evaluate technology and look for use cases that show how the technology works in real-world applications. These can include mobile devices, RFID, scanners, wearable devices, and drones.
“There are many companies that have gotten this right, and they are doing very well and thriving in this economy,” he said.
Technology deployments should consider customer privacy and delivery speed, and tracking delivery is a must that customers expect. Anand said retailers need to become tech companies as the customer journey now includes the shopping experience, payment and shipping. A fall in any area can alienate the client forever.
Click to see more articles by Brian Straight Modern Shipper.
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Image received from Pixabay