Consumers are fickle and demanding when it comes to their online shopping experiences, according to two recent surveys from the Coveo Marketing Group and the Linnworks commerce automation platform.
The Covéo report 73% of consumers will stop using a brand after three or fewer negative customer service experiences. Linnworks found that 79% of consumers buy more online today than a year ago.
Coveo also found that 44% of those surveyed rarely complain directly to the company, saying brands could lose revenue they aren’t aware of because many disappointed consumers don’t return to the retailer or brand. Almost half (44%) of those surveyed said they would abandon a brand because they couldn’t find certain information, and 23% said they would abandon brands for which there is conflicting information.
“The survey shows how quickly declining customer satisfaction can turn into customer abandonment, thus tearing the recurring revenue machine apart,” notes the Coveo report. “Basically, they (the customer) will just ghost you.”
Marketers say good customer service has always been important, but digital innovations have complicated metrics for retailers and brands. Coveo has found that many brands view their customer support program as a cost-cutting effort, with companies dumping a lot of information on their websites in hopes of reducing the number of calls to support centers.
While directing consumers to an FAQ or a website help page may reduce the burden on customer support staff, this alone will not guarantee a high-quality experience, Coveo noted. Inability to find information (44%) and conflicting information (23%) were two of the main reasons consumers abandoned a brand altogether.
“Smart brands are turning their web presence into service and support centers for existing customers, while also being attractive to potential customers,” the Coveo report states. “They invest in their online experiences in order to anticipate customer concerns and mitigate them by delivering highly relevant content. “
Understanding the different preferences across age groups can also be helpful for brands, so they can tailor their offer to their consumers. Half of Gen Z (consumers under 22) were the most likely to abandon a retailer if they couldn’t find information online, while 40% of baby boomers (ages 57 to 75 years) said they preferred talking to a person rather than chatting with bots online, according to the survey.
“The pandemic has changed commerce as we know it,” said Callum Campbell, CEO of Linnworks. “Our data shows that 79% of consumers agree that commerce is more integrated into their lives today than it was just a year ago. Today, it’s imperative that brands are visible wherever their customers spend time online and deliver a flexible and seamless experience at every stage of the customer journey.
The Linnworks survey asked consumers why they chose to shop online, and 76% agreed that convenience was the top priority for online shoppers. In addition, 78% say they place more importance on ease and convenience than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and 74% say the majority of their purchases will be done online because it is. convenient.
Linnworks said retailers should prepare to continue to offer flexible shopping options introduced during the pandemic, as 84% of respondents expect retailers to maintain services such as online shopping, pickup in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup operational in the long term.
In terms of convenience, 81% of respondents expect retailers to offer seamless shopping on all devices, and 51% say they abandoned a purchase after having to re-order on another device. More than a third (35%) of those surveyed have made a purchase directly through a social media platform, while 27% say they have not yet done so but would try it.
Linnworks found that 95% of consumers mention shipping factors in the late stages of online purchasing decisions. Transparency about shipping is a major concern as 61% said they were ready to buy with brands that offer next day delivery, but 72% said they abandoned their purchases due to a lack of transparency regarding shipping.
Consumers also seek convenience in the way they pay for their orders online, with 28% of respondents saying they’ve used a buy-it-now and check-out option. About a quarter of respondents said they were open to using payment options later. The most important factor among those who use flexible payment options find it faster and easier and 70% admitted to impulse purchases due to flexible payment options. A majority (84%) of respondents are more willing to buy big ticket items if they have flexible payment options, and 79% are more likely to ship with retailers that do flexible payments.
Other Linnworks survey results include 91% said they now begin their buying journey directly from an online marketplace such as Amazon. That said, 44% said they had given up on an online marketplace because they were overwhelmed with options. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed have bought from a direct-to-consumer brand in the past six months, and 76% would prefer to buy direct with their favorite brand if they could offer the same amenities as a online market.