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Study reveals what matters most to online shoppers

Consumers value savings, specifically inexpensive shipping and easy returns, the most when it comes to online shopping.

That is according to a global consumer insights study by Radial, which found that consumers are willing to compromise on delivery time in exchange for receiving their order for free. And while 35.1% of Americans expect their goods to arrive in two days or less, only 24.3% would be willing to pay up to $10 for delivery. Going a step further, an enormous 64% of U.S. shoppers expect free delivery for all online purchases, clearly indicating an increased importance on savings over speed.

The report, "Cracking the Code: What Online Shoppers Value Most," also found that return processes also play a major role in the way consumers purchase online goods. Fifty-one percent of Americans and 49.3% of Canadians avoid purchasing goods from online retailers who do not offer free returns, meaning that these brands have lost half of all prospective customers before the shopping experience even begins, noted Radial.

In related findings from the report:

• Roughly half of all consumers reported that physically shipping their returns was the single greatest challenge when returning online goods.

• Clothing and accessories is the largest product category that consumers reported they are hesitant to purchase online in anticipation of returns, with 41.4% of Americans and 50.9% of Canadians opting not to purchase. Customers were relatively cautious with jewelry and luxury items as well.

• For both Americans and Canadians, using pre-paid return labels and packaging is the preferred method for returning goods (51% and 39.4%, respectively). However, 24.6% of American shoppers prefer to manage their returns online and ship items back on their own, and another 15.5% of Americans and 20.7% of Canadians prefer to return items at brick and mortar locations. This indicates that while consumers do have clear preferences with regard to returns, there is still no universal solution, indicating the need for options that allow customers to select their own journey.

"While there is a lot of exciting innovation taking place in e-commerce today, some of the most impactful efforts are taking place behind the scenes," said Tim Hinckley, chief commercial officer for Radial. "Our data shows that consumers place the most value in inexpensive shipping and easy returns. Brands that focus their resources on delivering these seemingly-obvious but often overlooked, or challenging to execute, aspects of the consumer journey are the ones who will stand out from the pack."
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