Consumer Insights
April 29, 2016

The shopper point of view on four hot topics in online retail

Data tells the story of what consumers most value from online retailers.

Understanding what consumers truly want is the key to success for any brand, and it was the central theme of a session led by Hayley Silver, vice president of Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity, at the iMedia Commerce Summit. So what do consumers really want?

Here are four places to start, based on the latest findings from Bizrate Insights’ surveys of verified online buyers:

1. Support Mobile’s Growing Role In Omnichannel Shopping

If you’ve been to a marketing conference in the past five years, you have probably perpetually heard that it’s the “Year of Mobile.” Last year, Google even announced that smartphones have officially displaced desktop computers as the most searched-on device in 10 countries, including the United States.

Some 63% of online buyers either use their mobile devices to check product availability before they go to a store or think it’s a good idea to do so. Once in a store, 21% use their mobile devices to assist their in-store shopping experiences, while 64% use or would use their mobile device to do price comparisons while they’re in stores.

Consumers spend almost five hours a day on their mobile devices, according to Informate Mobile Intelligence research—a number that isn’t slowing down. Mobile is integral to shopping search, discovery and decision-making for a huge swath of online buyers, it’s therefore crucial for retailers to support a seamless flow between mobile devices, desktop, and in-person experiences.

2. Reduce Abandonment by Supporting Intended Buyers

15% of shopping site abandoners surveyed left an online store empty handed despite visiting with the intention to purchase. Some people cart abandon because there wasn’t an available coupon or they got distracted. But far more people—45% of them—abandoned their visit before even putting an item in the cart; often because an item was out of stock or they couldn’t locate the item they wanted to buy.

If a shopper is not ready to buy or to pay a certain price, then this may be out of your hands; but the other common factors that contribute to abandonment may be controllable:

  • Retailers can offer to help locate an out-of-stock item, or promise to notify the customer when it’s back in stock.
  • Since many abandoners who have engaged with the cart or even started checkout simply need to confirm that an item meets their needs, consider offering more product details or photos in retargeting emails.
  • Try retargeting during business hours, since 57% of checkout abandoners would prefer to complete their order between 9am and 5pm.
  • An additional discount is also a good strategy, though you don’t need to go overboard; 59% of those who need a discount would complete their purchase with the promise of 20% off. Though if you regularly discount at a higher percent, then 20% may not be enough.

3. Make Ratings Available

Even before they’ve hit an online store, 22% of online buyers are inclined to look at store ratings in the search engine results—particularly Generation Y at 24%. Upon arriving at a retailer’s website, another 22% of online buyers seek out store ratings, and once they decide on a product most of the remaining shoppers, 42%, then look for store validation in the form of ratings.

Meanwhile, over half (54%) of online buyers seek out store reviews once they’ve found what they might buy. Retailers who have yet to implement verified store ratings and reviews may be missing a key resource for closing sales.

4. Offer Fast Shipping, But Prioritize Price

Is overnight shipping becoming the new norm? Perhaps. Expectations are high, particularly amongst younger shoppers—30% of Millennials say that same-day delivery is important to them.

However, for all generations, the price of shipping far outweighs the importance of speed. 74% of online buyers say that delivery cost is more important to them, versus 26% who value timing first.