eCommerce Customer Expectations: What You Need to Know This Holiday Season

Posted by Murray Sye

on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

When it comes to an online shopping experience, customers have a much higher expectation than what you may think. That is according to a recent study conducted jointly by UPS and comScore. UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study concluded a number of findings that every online marketer should be aware of.

eCommerce Consumer Expectations  What You Should Be Aware Of copy

As the fall and winter holiday season heats up and online conversion tactics take precedent, it's time for businesses to get serious about making it easier to purchase their goods and services.

Did you know that:

  • 53% of respondents want access to customer service within the checkout experience

  • 57% want their customer profiles pre-populated to save time, even though most shoppers want their packages delivered to their homes

  • what's trending: alternative delivery locations, such as a retailer's store, workplace, the ability to re-route and reschedule deliveries.

Here are a few surprising results noted by Bala Ganesh, UPS Retail Director:

1) Mobile has shortcomings with desktop still in the lead
It appears that even though there is an increase in overall eCommerce transactions via mobile, desktop still reigns supreme for online shoppers.

Desktop vs. mobile for ecommerce


41% of respondents said they prefer a retailers full website versus 34% of those who prefer mobile. Mobile has its shortcomings; respondents can't get clear or large enough images of the products, and not being able to easily view product information are sited as the top mobile challenges.

But, mobile still has its place

mobile for other ecommerce functions

Despite the challenges with purchasing on mobile devices, consumers use their smartphones for several other activities. Online shoppers use their mobile devices for several different pre and post-purchase functions. Tracking deliveries and research occur most often.

2) People still prefer to buy and return items in store

Return policies often influence conversion. Since 2012, more consumers are looking at retailers' return policies before making a purchase, emphasizing the increasing role of returns in driving purchasing decisions. A retailers returns options are influencers in the likelihood to complete a sale, with restocking and shipping fees being the most impactful deterrents.


3) Free shipping drives sales

According to UPS, free shipping continues to drive purchasing decisions. 58% of respondents indicated they have added items to their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping and 83% are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery if shipping is free!

free shipping

Free shipping continues to be the most preferred option when checking out online, however it is not the only valued option. 93% of online shoppers have taken action in order to qualify for free shipping. Seeing the estimated delivery date and shipping costs early in the process are also important. Ganesh of UPS says it's about how to maximize the customer experience given the different costs a merchant has.

Regardless, eComm marketers will need to determine their holiday shipping strategies soon, as consumers are not only willing to purchase when offered free shipping, but online shoppers are also demanding to see the expected delivery date. Which of course is especially important during the approaching holiday season.

Here are some additional eCommerce articles that may be helpful:
eCommerce: Preparing for the holiday season, what you need to know
Want to sell more than Amazon? Content is the driving force
eCommerce: How to turn your first-time buyers into life-time purchasers
4 Ways to get your customers coming back for more

The Ultimate Guide To Managing A Brand In The Inbound Age

Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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