In 2012, retail e-commerce spending in the US reached $186 billion – growing 7x faster than the rate of growth for US retail spending. A newly released white paper from UPS sheds light on what e-tailers (e-commerce retailers) can do to improve the online shopping experience, including a list of six main drivers that result in positive word of mouth recommendations from online shoppers.
Word of mouth marketing is more important than ever before—and thanks to social sharing, it’s more prevalent, too. Doing what it takes to meet and exceed customer expectations is just as critical for the online retailer as it is for retailers selling from brick and mortar stores.
UPS released a white paper pointing to areas of online shopper satisfaction and dissatisfaction as expressed by more than 3,000 U.S. online shoppers in a study conducted by comScore in February 2013. While overall consumer satisfaction was high (83%), most of the areas of dissatisfaction seem to center around shipping, delivery and pick up options. More specifically, U.S. online shoppers want to be able to pick up their orders at convenient locations, choose their own delivery dates (and even specify the time of delivery) and they want the flexibility to re-route packages.
More than 90% of the survey’s respondents said that they had recommended online retailers to other people. If 90% of your customers are willing to recommend you to friends, family, co-workers or other acquaintances, it’s worth knowing what drives these word of mouth recommendations. [Scroll down to see the UPS Comscore infographic.]
Online ratings and reviews sell online products, so word of mouth is especially critical. Not surprisingly, when it came to finding out what drives U.S. online shoppers to make positive word of mouth recommendations, five of the top six reasons relate to shipping issues. Find out more about what drives referral marketing, featuring a word of mouth marketing infographic by UPS and ComScore.
You might also like: Integrate Today’s Biggest Ecommerce Trends into your Business
6 drivers of positive word of mouth recommendations for Ecommerce retailers + Infographic
Survey respondents were asked the following questions, “Assuming you are happy with the product… what features actually led you to recommend an online retailer?” Here’s what they said:
- 68% Free shipping
- 47% Receiving the product when expected
- 34% Free returns
- 34% Easy returns and exchanges
- 29% Tracking services
- 25% Fast credits or refunds for returned merchandise
Remember, though, that online shoppers are also going to tell people on social networks, more likely to post online reviews and ratings and in person about negative online shopping experiences as well.
When it came to factors that could trigger a bad review or negative word of mouth marketing, here’s what made the top of the list:
- 59% Shipping costs too high based on product price
- 45% Shipping costs too high based on expected delivery date
- 43% Products arriving damaged
- 40% Delivery taking longer than promised
- 37% Not being able to get a refund, only credit
- 35% Being bombarded with offers they didn’t want
Forrester Research reports that 53% of people in the U.S. shopped online in 2011, a number predicted to grow to 58% by 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. E-tailers need to listen to consumers, now more than ever.
If you are an online retailer, you could benefit from continual surveys and engaging in meaningful dialogue with your customers that reveal their level of satisfaction and the areas where you could improve their shopping and product delivery experience.
Online retailers receiving positive ratings and positive word of mouth from customers generally receive those in formats which are broadcast to hundreds and sometimes even thousands of prospective customers on social networks and online rating and review sites – and the same holds true for those receiving negative word of mouth and poor ratings.
UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper –
Online Shopper’s Road to Happiness Infographic
UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Infographic – via UPS.com