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e-Publication

07 June 2013

Report: Are UK eRetailers Meeting Consumer Expectations?

Online commerce is no longer in its infancy, and as more and more consumers shop online every day, the demands they place on eRetailers increase as well.

According to an eCommerce and digital marketing report issued by EPiServer, more than half of UK consumers are using their mobile phones or tablets to make online purchases every week. Moreover, 36 percent reported they have been purchasing more items online in the last year.

Consumer satisfaction is a huge part of the eCommerce world, as websites that appear outdated, unsecure or impersonal can lead to abandoned carts, negative reviews and a subsequent lack of sales.

The eCommerce market is becoming innately more aggressive with growth, and the changing market also means changing consumer expectations. The consumer report surveyed over 1,000 individuals in the UK about their eCommerce shopping experiences, and factors that can either enhance or taint the process. Retailers need to make sure their online services are matching customer demands if they want to differentiate and increase opportunity.

We review what UK consumers said about their current online shopping experience, what’s hindering the process and if eRetailers are meeting expectations in this PYMNTS.com Data Point.

Website Experience

Ninety-two percent of the participants reported that being able to easily navigate a website is important, and 89 percent said the website needs to have an effective product search. The majority of consumers agreed that most retailers were following through on both of these features. However, consumers also stated that it is imperative to have a quick and easy checkout process, and that many retailers were failing do provide this. They even admitted this was the second highest reason they were abandoning purchases online, which highlights the need for retailers to pay attention to these features.

Consumers also said they liked websites that had high quality images, and liked a wider range of customer service options, which many companies were said to be lacking. They suggest more options such as social media, online chat and email.

Browsing

This is a unique feature that EPiserver indicated many retailers are lacking. Online shoppers said they sometimes browse websites without the initial intention to make a purchase. Therefore it is vital online retailers are providing enjoyable and informative content for the viewer. This can include customer or product reviews, integrated blogs or company suggestions. The extra content is beneficial for brand loyalty and marketing purposes.

Buying

The report results indicated that many retailers were falling short in the checkout category. Ninety-two percent of consumers said they prefer the shipping costs to be more transparent. They said they frequently abandon potential purchases because the delivery cost was unclear until the last minute. Nine out of 10 consumers claimed that free shipping is a high priority, but only one in three said it was absolutely 'vital'.

Along with shipping costs, consumers explained they expect to see a clear display of return policies when checking out.

The online shoppers also said communication, such as notification emails, is also important. The report showed that one-in-three retailers were failing to complete the email verification process.

After Sales

Those surveyed revealed that the after sale process was a big drawback for several retailers.  Customers expect an automated process that provides emails or SMS notifications to notify them where their purchase is and when they can expect it. Most retailers are providing emails, but only one-in-five reported to have utilized an SMS alert system for customers.

To see more UK eCommerce opinion stats, read the full report at EiiServer here

http://www.pymnts.com/