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How Well Do You Know Your Online Customers?

eCommerce is a fast-moving industry where customer needs seem to be constantly changing and expanding.

As your customers become more familiar with new technology, you have to find ways to provide them easy access to your business through their favorite devices. How well you support your online customers can have huge and long-reaching ramifications for your eBusiness.

Retail Success in the Mobile Age

We’re living in a world that’s changing constantly. It has only been eight years since Apple released the first true Smartphone into the world, but these devices have managed to seamlessly integrate into the technological landscape with surprising speed. Today, people everywhere are using mobile devices of all kinds for eCommerce, but not all retailers are ready to handle mobile traffic.

According to the 2015 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper report, last year’s mobile commerce sales growth was 27.7 percent while eCommerce growth was only about 13 percent. To put it bluntly, if you’re still waiting for a good reason to develop a mobile model, it’s time to seriously consider the fact that you may be failing to meet your customers’ needs.

The UPS report found that up to 65 percent of shoppers use their Smartphones to research an online purchase and as many as 53 percent have made purchases using their mobile devices. A surprising 22 percent use their mobile devices while inside a retail store to do product research, as well as accessing emails that prompt in-store purchases.

Even if these shoppers don’t leave a retail location with an item in tow, they may still order the item online, according to the report. Thirty-nine percent want to touch or feel a product before they make a purchase. Another finding indicates that 45 percent of mobile users believe the ability to check store inventory themselves is an important feature in retailer-specific mobile apps.

What it Means for eCommerce Order Management

Whether or not you have a retail location, the 75 percent of Americans that own a Smartphone are going to be increasingly looking for companies that can meet their needs for smooth transitions across different sales platforms. Even fully online businesses can expect another 12 percent jump in Smartphone purchases this year as the public becomes more comfortable with the process and businesses become more accessible through this channel, according to UPS.

Although your order fulfillment process may seem perfect to you, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be right for these shoppers. Consider that they’re increasingly looking for more convenience, including the ability to track their mobile orders from their Smartphones (24 percent surveyed), guaranteed delivery dates (51 percent surveyed) and free shipping options (77 percent surveyed).

You’ll want to be ready when it comes to reverse logistics, too. Sixty-seven percent of online shoppers always check the return policy before they begin shopping with a new retailer. These mobile customers are looking for free return shipping (66 percent), hassle-free return policies (58 percent) and in-the-box return labels or labels that are easy to find and print (47 percent).

Knowing your online customers is vital to your retail success, whether you have a brick and mortar location or are wholly online. Change is coming quickly as mobile users rise in their power to dominate retail — be ready or be left behind.

December 22, 2015
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