Virtually all ecommerce shoppers buy from marketplaces, UPS study shows

UPS released results from a global study it conducted in collaboration with comScore. The report titled Pulse of the Online Shopper™ evaluated shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery.

It was conducted in Q1, Q2, and Q3 of 2017 and is based on a comScore survey of more than 18,000 online shoppers worldwide who made at least two purchases in a three month period.

“Understanding shoppers and meeting their demands is crucial in this rapidly changing landscape. To stand out, smart companies must recognize that, with competition now coming from around the world, consumers want different ways to make purchases, more convenient ways to receive them and innovative experiences from start to finish.”

Alan Gershenhorn, chief commercial officer for UPS

The study found that almost all online shoppers in the markets surveyed purchased goods from marketplaces.

In Mexico, 99% of shoppers reported making a marketplace purchase, compared with 98% in Asia and 96% in both Europe and Canada. The top reported reasons for using marketplaces are better prices and free or discounted shipping.

Global competition for shoppers is increasing, with a significant number of online shoppers in Canada (83%), Brazil (81%) and Mexico (78%) making purchases from international retailers.

The U.S. lags well behind in this metric with only about half (47%) of shoppers making international purchases.

Shoppers engaged in international purchases primarily for better prices and to find specific and unique products.

The majority of global shoppers also used a mobile device to search for products, compare prices, locate stores and track deliveries.

Employing a mobile-first strategy is now a universal requirement with at least 70% of respondents in all regions using smartphones to compare prices while in stores.

Shoppers also expect quick fulfillment of online orders and speedy delivery across all region, however, what counts as fast delivery differs regionally.

Also, online consumers in Asia, Mexico and Brazil expect to be able to place orders later in the day and still be eligible for same-day and next-day delivery.

Returns are a common issue in all markets, with the U.S. leading the way being the country with the shoppers who most likely will return goods (44%), while consumers in Mexico are the least likely to return products (22%).

Where to return goods seems differ from region to region a bit. When options are offered to ship goods back to a warehouse or return goods back to a physical store, shoppers in Asia and Europe prefer to ship online purchases back, while consumers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil, prefer to return online orders to a physical store.

Among those who prefer to ship returns, ease and free shipping returns are the leading reasons for this preference across all regions.

eCommerce shoppers appear to embrace new technologies such as chatbots and other self-service options when shopping online. But when it comes to in-store purchases, consumers in the U.S. and Canada would prefer to interact with humans over robots.

Bottom Line

There isn’t any earth-shattering revelation in this study from UPS and comScore. Mostly it re-emphasis existing believes and highlights regional differences in shopping habits.

However, the most important takeaway from the study is dominant role marketplaces have in eCommerce.

With so many changes at eBay and Etsy, and more niche style marketplaces trying to gain the attention from regional and global shoppers, online retailers have to consider embracing more marketplaces as viable sales channels.

Shoppers seem to trust marketplace because they bring a certain level of “comfort” and “safety” to the online buying experience.

Even with all the changes and some marketplaces now operating on stricter guidelines than years ago, it seems for online retailers to abandon marketplaces as a viable sales channel would be a huge mistake.

Did anything in this study surprise you or did it mostly confirm the current state of eCommerce? Head over to our Facebook Discussion Group or use the comments section below.

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