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Improving product returns presents biggest opportunity for retailers wishing to increase online shopping satisfaction

Tuesday August 7 2012

New Customer Experience Study Provides Insight Into the Factors that Make for a Happy Online Shopper

While 86 percent of consumers are satisfied with the overall experience of shopping online, retailers still have significant opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and their competitive position by making the process of returning or exchanging items easier, a new study shows. comScore's Online Shopping Customer Experience Study, a report analyses consumers’ online shopping behaviors and preferences.

Drawing its analysis from a February 2012 comScore survey of more than 3,100 U.S. online shoppers and an online focus group held in January 2012, the report highlights which factors lead consumers to return items, to recommend online retailers to friends, their requirements for a smooth checkout process, and which shipping services they find most valuable.

Convenient Return Process Critical to Customer Satisfaction

Few factors figure more prominently in improving customer satisfaction in online shopping than an easy-to-understand and convenient returns process. A significant 63 percent of online shoppers look at a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase. Nearly half said that they would shop more often and recommend a retailer with a lenient returns policy, indicating its value in driving customer loyalty. Hassle-free returns and exchanges rank above average in terms of importance for shoppers but rank low in terms of current customer satisfaction, showing a significant area of opportunity for retailers.

“The Online Shopping Customer Experience Study provides retailers with the insights needed to enhance the post-purchase online shopping experience, focusing on the factors which lead to customer loyalty and growth,” said Susan Kleinman, comScore director. “While free shipping has tended to dominate the discussion regarding what provides satisfaction to online shoppers, the study shows there are several other factors critical to a positive online shopping experience. Retailers need a holistic understanding of these drivers if they hope to stimulate sales while maintaining healthy margins in this competitive retail environment.”