Consumers are fickle and demanding when it comes to their e-commerce shopping experiences, according to a pair of recent surveys by marketing group Coveo, and commerce automation platform Linnworks.
The Coveo report found 73% of consumers will quit using a brand after three or fewer negative customer service experiences. Linnworks found 79% of consumers are buying more online today than a year ago.
Coveo also found 44% of respondents rarely complain directly to the company saying brands could be losing revenue they aren’t aware of as many disappointed consumers don’t go back to the retailer or brand. Nearly half (44%) of the respondents said they would abandon a brand because they couldn’t find certain information, and 23% said they move past brands where there is conflicting information.
“The survey shows how quickly fading customer satisfaction can turn into customer abandonment, monkeywrenching the recurring revenue machine,” the Coveo report noted. “Essentially, they (the customer) will just ghost you.”
Marketing experts say good customer service has always been important but digital innovations have complicated the metrics for retailers and brands. Coveo found many brands see their customer-support program as a cost-saving-effort with businesses dumping a lot of information on their website in hopes of reducing the number of calls to support centers.
While directing consumers to a website FAQ or help page can reduce the burden on human customer support staff, this alone won’t ensure a high-quality experience, Coveo noted. The inability to find information (44%) and finding conflicting information (23%) were two big reasons consumers named for abandoning a brand altogether.
“Smart brands are transforming their web presences into service and support centers for existing customers, while also being attractive to prospective customers,” the Coveo report states. “They invest in their online experiences so that they anticipate customer concerns and alleviate them by serving up highly relevant content.”
Understanding the different preferences across age demographics can also be helpful for brands, so they can tailor their offering to their consumer. Half of Gen Z (consumers under 22 years old) were the most likely to abandon a retailer if they can’t find online information, while 40% of Baby Boomers (ages between 57 and 75) reported they would rather speak to a person than converse with bots online, the survey found.
“The pandemic has changed commerce as we know it,” said Linnworks CEO Callum Campbell. “Our data shows that 79% of consumers agree that commerce is more integrated into their lives today than just one year ago. Today, it’s imperative that brands are visible wherever their customers spend time online and provide a flexible, frictionless experience at every point in the customer journey.”
The Linnworks survey asked consumers why they chose to shop online finding 76% agreed that convenience was a top priority for online shoppers. In addition, 78% say they value ease and convenience now more than they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 74% say the majority of their shopping will be online because it is convenient.
Linnworks said retailers should prepare to continue offering flexible shopping options introduced during the pandemic, as 84% of respondents expect retailers to keep services like buy-online, pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pick-up operational long-term.
In terms of what constitutes convenience, 81% of respondents expect retailers to offer seamless purchasing across devices, and 51% say they have abandoned a purchase after having to restart the order on a separate device. More than one-third (35%) of respondents have made a purchase directly through a social media platform, while another 27% say they haven’t yet but would try it.
Linnworks found 95% of consumers say shipping factors into the final steps of online purchase decisions. Transparency with regard to shipping is a key concern as 61% said they are willing to shop with brands that offer next-day delivery, but 72% said they abandoned purchases because of a lack of transparency around shipping.
Consumers also look for convenience in how they pay for online orders with 28% of respondents saying they have used a buy-now, pay-later option. Roughly one-quarter of respondents said they are open to using the pay-later options. The biggest factor among those who use flexible payment options find it faster and easier and 70% admitted to making impulse purchases due to having flexible payment options. A majority (84%) of respondents are more willing to buy big-ticket items if given flexible payment options and 79% are more likely to ship with retailers making flexible payments.
Other findings in the Linnworks survey include 91% said they now start their shopping journey directly on an online marketplace such as Amazon. That said, 44% said they have abandoned an online marketplace because they were overwhelmed by options. Nearly half (49%) of respondents have purchased from a direct-to-consumer brand in the past six months, and 76% would prefer to shop with their favorite brand directly if they were able to offer the same conveniences as an online marketplace.