Survey: Consumers buying online value stress-free, on-time delivery

Oakland, Calif. -- Current consumer behavior indicates that most consumers are more concerned with how well retailers are able to deliver goods according to customer preferences than about ordering via social media channels.

A GT Nexus online survey, conducted in association with YouGov, showed that while 3% of respondents say they have purchased goods using social media channels, consumers generally cite the inclusion of delivery/collection options as being important to them when ordering a product either online or in-store (75%).

The survey also found that consumers consider it important that their expectations of delivery times are fulfilled. European consumers surveyed are less tolerant, with an average of 65% expecting delivery of purchases made online within three days or less – whereas in the U.S. only 24% of consumers expect delivery in that time frame.

“These results show that retailers are potentially focusing their investments on the wrong thing,” said Greg Johnsen, CMO, GT Nexus.  “Obviously, having a good front-end multi-channel strategy in place is important, but what some may be missing is that it’s the back-end of the multichannel strategy that will ultimately influence consumers’ propensity to order from a particular retailer.  It is completely pointless to have fancy user interfaces across all channels if you cannot deliver when and where a consumer wants to receive your goods.”

Showrooming will only add to this requirement for retailers to get physical stock levels, delivery and collection options right at the back-end, according to the research. Consumers in the U.K. (62%), U.S. (64%) and France (70%) say they have engaged in showrooming over the last twelve months.

Currently, effective cross-channel inventory management to enable efficient fulfillment of consumer orders differs in quality across the globe. 31% of US consumers report that they have queried stock availability in a physical store using online tools, and then found the product out-of-stock when going to the store. This practice is less prevalent in Europe. On average for Europe, 13% of consumers reported that this is an issue they have run into.

Another area in which retailers could improve their performance is getting the back-end support for ‘recommendation engines’ improved. The GT Nexus online survey shows that despite the widespread use of merchandising related products in online stores, retailers have not cracked the issue of delivering related products (such as an iPod and headphones, or a bike with a helmet) ordered at the same time, together. U.K. retailers appear to do best at this, although a significant 34% of U.K. consumers stated that they had this experience at least once. Almost half of consumers in the U.S. (46%) and France (45%) say they have experienced this issue at least once.

Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they would wait longer for a delivery if promised a 10% discount on their purchase. This is an interesting contradiction to the finding that consumers expect goods to be delivered in a short time span. When offered only a slight discount, their willingness to wait for a product vastly increases.