CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
November 11, 2019
Forward Thinking

Transparency, personalization rule in e-commerce

Online shoppers want clarity on fees, control over the delivery process, easy returns, and loyalty rewards, UPS study shows.

Online shoppers are looking for more than just a quick delivery these days, as transparency into fees and a desire for personalization take hold among consumers, an August 6 study from UPS shows.

Specifically, the study found that shoppers want to see all taxes and fees upfront, and that they also want control over the delivery process, easy returns, and a loyalty program that rewards frequent purchases. The UPS study, 2019 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, captured evolving trends, preferences, and expectations of online shoppers in 15 countries and regions, including the United States, Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and for the first time, India. The study also examined generational trends in online shopping, gauging the effect that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers are having on retail trends.

Study found that consumers want: 

  • Fee transparency. Ninety percent of customers research items before purchasing them online, and younger generations are most likely to be influenced by customer reviews; 95 percent of all buyers said they expect to see all shipping fees and taxes totaled before they will complete a purchase.
  • Loyalty rewards. About one in five (19 percent) consumers have more than five loyalty memberships. Reasons given for joining include free shipping, members-only discounts, and rewards points. 
  • Free shipping. Respondents like next-day deliveries, but they will consider other options—such as lower fees or incentives—for slower shipping. Millennial shoppers are more likely to choose accelerated delivery options than other age groups. "Generally, though, online shoppers show a very low appetite for paying for shipping. That's why they'll take various actions to obtain free shipping, including adding items to the cart (36 percent), choosing the slowest transit time (32 percent), and searching online for a promo code (32 percent)," the authors wrote.

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