What do online shoppers really expect from their experience?

2019-11-05T23:19:24-03:00October 17th, 2019|Best Practices User Experience|

Every e-commerce brand wants to know what their customers really want from their online shopping experience.  With many of the digital tools already available out there, much of this information can be attained by analyzing onsite customer behaviors. This data can help answer practical questions like:

  • How many shoppers abandoned their shopping carts this month?
  • How many emails were sent to customer service last week?
  • How many shoppers selected Free Shipping compared to the other available shipping methods?

This data shows what your customers are already doing, which are likely relevant metrics for your business. But these questions aren’t actually uncovering the information you need to better understand your customer and what they want from their experience shopping on your site.  Knowing how satisfied or not they are with your website is only possible if you can understand consumer expectations for that experience in the first place. And this information can be hard enough to find in one market, much less in several markets.

As part of the comprehensive multi-market research report Flow commissioned earlier this year, we examined data across 11 top markets (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, UK, USA) to uncover e-commerce best practices within each market, looking both at what shoppers expect and how primary retailers in each market respond to those expectations.  As a result of the analysis, we found that customer expectations for their e-commerce experience vary across markets, especially when it comes to the onsite experience, customer service, and logistics.

This was the reason for publishing our latest report, Global Consumer Insights. This report highlights a few key areas of the onsite shopping experience, looking at different aspects of consumer expectations across the 11 markets, and can help retailers to effectively optimize the online experience for their cross-border shoppers around the world.

Here are the main questions asked and areas examined in this report. For detailed results and data, you can download the full report here.

1. Why do shoppers abandon their shopping carts online?

Overall the data revealed that almost 4 in 5 respondents to the study reported that they have abandoned their shopping cart online, with India, China and Germany having the lowest rates, and Canada and Japan demonstrating the highest abandonment rates.  There were many reasons for shopping cart abandonment, but unsurprisingly, high shipping costs was the top ranked by almost half of all respondents. In fact, other shipping concerns were raised as reasons for shopping cart abandonment as well, such as the purchase didn’t qualify for free shipping and shipping costs were shown too late in the checkout process. But shipping wasn’t the only area, and other reasons for cart abandonment were noted as well, such as product price being too expensive or the preferred payment method being unavailable.

2. What types of customer service communication do shoppers expect to see?

We also examined how shoppers in different markets prefer to get in touch with brands and retailers regarding their online orders. Overall, online shoppers expect a variety of customer service options to be available to them, from email and live chat/messenger to a toll-free telephone number and local number. Live chat/messenger ranked high among Chinese and South Korean shoppers, though very unpopular with Japanese shoppers. French and German shoppers showed a clear preference for email communication, while in India a majority of the respondents preferred a toll-free telephone number to get in touch with brands they shop.

3. What types of shipping options and delivery times do shoppers expect?

Given the importance of shipping costs to online consumers, we asked respondents what types of shipping options they expected to have available to them when shopping online. Unsurprisingly, a majority of shoppers across all markets expect free shipping to be available, however the countries with the highest expectation for free shipping included Japan, Brazil, USA, and Canada.  A little more than a third of all respondents said they expected there to be an option for 2-Day Shipping available. When asked about their expectations for delivery windows on Free Shipping, the responses varied across the board. Respondents in certain markets expected free shipping within 2 business days, while in other markets shoppers expected free shipping deliveries to arrive in 5 days or more.

What else is there?

The factors outlined above are not the only ones that can impact the onsite experience and affect conversion rates on retailer sites. While the three areas examined above are the primary focus of our latest ebook, the data analyzed also covers online shopper willingness to pay for returns as well as their expectations for how online retailers should handle out-of-stock and pre-order items. For details on these findings, download our Global Consumer Insights: Shopping Expectations for the E-Commerce Experience ebook

Ready to learn how Flow can help your e-commerce business create and deliver localized experiences for your global shoppers? Contact us today.

Written by
Juliana Pereira is Vice President, Marketing at Flow Commerce. With 15 years experience in marketing and ecommerce, Juliana joined the Flow team after serving as Vice President of Marketing at Smartling. Previously Juliana worked across a variety of verticals and industries, from non-profits and publishing to tech and fashion, including management positions and key contributing roles at Ralph Lauren, The Met Store online (at The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Ziff Davis, and eMusic.