The global pandemic has accelerated online shopping trends, creating a sharp increase in consumer expectations, forcing retailers to fine-tune their services in order to stay ahead of the competition. The stakes are now much higher than they were just a year ago, with more than 83% of Australian consumers saying that a bad online shopping experience would destroy their trust in that brand entirely.

A new study, From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 Report, by mobile and IoT management solutions provider, SOTI, has revealed the three elements of online shopping that Australian consumers regard as non-negotiable:

  • faster delivery times
  • seamless returns
  • better protection of personal payment data.

“During the pandemic, Australian shoppers quickly transitioned to online shopping and instantly made clear what they expected from online retailers and what they’re unwilling to compromise on,” said Michael Dyson, VP of Sales, APAC, SOTI. “With the e-commerce space more competitive than ever before, our research shows that a retailer’s failure to satisfy these demands is now a swift dealbreaker for many consumers, which not only drives them to shop with a competing retailer, but completely undermines any brand loyalty.”

Consumers demand faster shipping times

One of the leading online shopping trends influencing where a consumer shops, is the promise of fast delivery. Almost a third (31%) of Australian consumers said they typically shop with brands that have the fastest delivery timeframe. A further 57% stated that if the delivery or pick-up of goods took more than two days they would look elsewhere. In fact, 20% believed that events such as the pandemic would eradicate retailers who cannot master their delivery process and experience.

“Even though COVID-19 unexpectedly accelerated consumer reliance in e-commerce, it hasn’t led to consumer acceptance of a reduction in delivery standards. Rises in consumer demand around deliveries show no sign of slowing and it’s clear that retailers who fail to offer the desired delivery window will immediately lose customers. In fact, more than a third (38%) of global consumers said they would shop elsewhere if the delivery or pick up of an item was longer than two days,” added Michael.

The returns experience is just as important as the buying experience

From the Australian consumers’ perspective, the returns experience is just as important as the buying experience, making it mandatory for retailers to create an experience that allows consumers to search, buy and return goods effortlessly. However, the research demonstrated that many retailers have not yet prioritised creating a seamless shopping experience, with over 70% of Australian consumers indicating that their main online shopping frustrations were due to ineffective delivery and returns processes, and general website inefficiencies. Almost two-thirds of consumers (60%) said the returns processes should be more automated to make the experience faster.

Consumers expect retailers to keep their information safe and secure

More consumer data is being processed and stored for personalised shopping experiences than ever before. While just over half (51%) of Australian consumers agreed they feel their payment data is safe when making an online purchase, nearly 72% said they have abandoned an online purchase because they did not trust the online retailer with their payment details. Additionally, large retailers have gained more consumer trust when it comes to data security, with 87% of consumers trusting only large and well-known online retailers with their personal payment data, whereas 62% indicated they are nervous about small retailers keeping their data secure.

“It is imperative for retailers to invest in systems and processes that safeguard their customers’ data. Without this assurance of data security, retailers run the risk of losing the trust and loyalty of their customers completely,” added Michael. “Retailers also need to ensure that all their systems and processes are connected and improve all areas of the online shopping experience, to remove any barriers that may frustrate and send consumers elsewhere.” 

From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 Report can be downloaded here.

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