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Americans want both online, and in-store buying says survey

In 2017 Americans spent a total of $435 billion shopping online and e-commerce is growing rapidly. So how do other online retailers get a slice of the online shopping pie?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

With an annual growth rate of over 15 percent, there is plenty of opportunity for retailers in the digital commerce sector, and there are plenty of items on customers wish lists according to a new survey.

More and more of us are shopping online according to a recent survey by SAP analysed global B2C customers running SAP Commerce Cloud.

It discovered that the total number of orders from customers who participated in the Black Friday / Cyber Monday shopping weekend increased by 9 percent with average order values increasing by 11.57 percent. compared to 2017.

SAP has also released its consumer propensity study. It polled 1000 Americans to gauge their thoughts on their shopping experiences - online and in-store.

It discovered that although seven out of 10 US consumers purchase fashion products online - they miss some of the experiences such as fitting rooms, provided by traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

The survey showed that almost three-quarters of US shoppers (74 percent) buy fashion online, almost half (47 percent) by groceries and consumer packaged goods, and 48 percent purchased digital goods.

Americans want both online and in-store buying says survey zdnet

Customers will buy if they have an incentive. They want discounts and notification of promotions (58 percent), additional discounts when a purchase is made (30 percent), and a quick response to customer queries (21 percent)

However, only one in five (22 percent) actually follow through with their purchases. The rest abandon their carts at some point in the buying process, and six percent never complete their purchase.

Most abandoned sales are for financial products 921 percent), Fashion (25 percent) and furniture (20 percent).

High shipping costs or difficult return policies often deter consumers from buying online.

So how can brands ensure that purchases are completed and avoid the abandonment of the shopping cart before a sale is made?

Almost two out of three (62 percent) of US consumers most frequently abandon their online shopping carts due to shipping costs. Providing free shipping would close the sale.

One-third of consumers believe that the online shopping experience could be improved if there was a physical store where they could try or test products before purchasing them.

Almost half 47 percent of US consumers surveyed believe online shopping experiences would be improved by comparison tools that analyze price and specification differences between similar products online.

According to the survey, 40 percent of respondents use the shopping cart as a way to compare prices with other Web sites and brands.

Brands need to use analytics and machine learning algorithms to anticipate customer behaviors and understand intent, whilst ensuring the relevant information is given to consumers to encourage them to complete their purchases.

They also need to be aware of their supply chain and logistics that impact availability and of product delivery, to remove the change that customers could abandon their purchasing.

Chris Hauca, head of Strategy, SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP. said: "The survey indicates that shoppers like the convenience of online shopping, but higher than expected shipping costs or a clunky return process quickly changes that sentiment."

Adding quick-response tools such as AI chatbots will ensure that the customer gets a quick response to their query. Brands can then get an insight as to what their customer wants and enables them to make quick adjustments to close the sale.

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