Online retail has changed the way people shop, and in many ways it has improved customers’ ability to get the items they need. As more and more retailers offer online shopping options, there are a few things customers have come to expect.
One of the biggest challenges with online shopping is a customer’s inability to see, touch, feel, or try on a product. While it’s great to be able to purchase everything from home décor and clothing to food products online, ecommerce sites need to provide enough information to customers before they buy with size charts, product dimensions, descriptions of the materials, and even video where applicable. Another common reason people avoid shopping online is a fear of paying for something they don’t yet have, so providing information about processing and shipping timelines, and regular updates on the status of the product can put a customer at ease.
2: Free Shipping
The explosion of online shopping and competition from large retailers like Amazon have created an expensive conundrum for smaller retailers: customers not only want free shipping, they expect it. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, 75 percent of online shoppers think delivery should be free, even on small orders. For retailers that have a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers are willing to do some of the work by coming to your location to pick up an item if shipping to the store is free. Shipping costs play a major role in a person’s decision to buy, with many reporting they review shipping policies before checkout.
3: Easy Returns
Finally, as online shopping increases, customers also expect an easy returns process. Unfortunately, few ecommerce retailers have a good reverse logistics program in place, and without a streamlined returns process you could be losing sales on the front end (a 2018 poll revealed that 76 percent of shoppers take the return policy into consideration before they buy), but it could also be costing you a lot on the back end because reverse logistics also helps you recapture value or properly dispose of a returned item.
To improve customer returns, start with a reverse logistics platform that can streamline the entire process and make it hassle-free for you and the people buying from your store, with features like printable return labels and quick turnaround for credits and refunds. Then create a clear and easy-to-understand policy that is easy to find on your website. Finally, focus on helping your associates understand the policy and provide exceptional service to people who need to return an item. Making returns easy is a great way to turn a one-time purchaser into a lifelong customer.