What are the Real Expectations of Consumers When Making an Online Purchase?
Consumer expectations are constantly changing if there is a single thing that we can say for e-commerce sites. The COVID-19 epidemic has made the digital world more competitive and dynamic than it has ever been for business.
Legacy stores that were once firmly based on strength and quality are compelled to make significant investments through their online websites to remain competitive.
The epidemic has increased pressure on retailers to keep up with customer expectations for almost instantaneous, multichannel service, from same-day delivery to mobile pay payment methods and self-service options. Beginning in 2022, a new outbreak of the variant threatens to disrupt the manual retail industry’s recovery as it spreads across the country.
The epidemic is still far from ending, but Omicron has also shown how continuous supply chains are hampered, and changing online buying motivations are still influencing customer behavior.
Customers’ expectations of the sellers they believe are altering as a result of the resurgence of e-commerce among consumers driven by necessity.
It will be difficult to match client expectations in 2022 if the understated strategies are not fully implemented throughout your business. You can offer your company a competitive firm as we move deeper into the new year by acting now:
Present a Range of Payment Choices
It’s no longer sufficient for your online store to only take the common payment card types. Consumers now have more payment alternatives than ever before as a result of the growth of online purchasing.
The popularity of bitcoin and digital wallets has significantly altered consumer purchasing habits. According to studies, credit cards are becoming less and less common as debt-aware Millennials and Gen Z choose debit-based payment options.
According to reports, 60% of millennials and Gen Z think credit cards are “too risky”—attitudes that haven’t been cooperated by banks’ decision to raise credit limits amid the pandemic.
Even though credit card usage returned to average levels over the 2021 season of holidays, preferred payment methods have nevertheless changed. Due to the extensive use of BNPL programs by young consumers, use compared to the same time in 2020 then doubled.
A 2021 poll by C + R research found that 60% of participants had implemented a BNPL service throughout the year, with over 59% of them utilizing it to buy an item that is unnecessary and that they wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. Especially, 36% of users of BNPL in the US are under the age of 25, and 41% are between the ages of 26 and 40.
Offering a range of debit and layaway choices is essential if you want to draw in younger consumers’ discretionary spending. One of the main causes of e-commerce cart abandonment is a shortage of appealing payment options. Customers will almost certainly choose you over another seller who provides a BNPL service if given the chance.
You may maximize conversions and satisfy customer expectations for a simple payment process by giving customers a flexible opportunity and option in how they can proceed through the checkout.
E-commerce is Back as a Growth Strategy
Customers may desire to return purchases for a lot of reasons, ranging from a straightforward change of heart to more complicated problems like defective or damaged goods. According to predictions, Q1 of 2022 will see earnings from the 2021 holiday season of up to $66.7 billion, a 45.6% rise over the average of the last five years.
Consumers are “hoarding” products out of fear of stockouts, which is leading to an increase in returns. Supply chain issues are a big factor in this. Return management will rank among the most crucial CX management methods in 2022 since supply chain issues are expected to persist for some time.
Merchants are missing a major chance to incorporate revenue-saving activities into their return workflow if they regard returns as an end to a consumer relationship rather than as an option to foster client loyalty.
Customers are displaying higher expectations for a variety of return options to meet their needs as the pandemic drives them to rely more on internet purchasing. 69% of customers, according to Magneto, want to be able to return items they have purchased online to a manual store, and more than half want to see extended return/exchange periods.
Your firm may speed the return process and keep customers happy by making investments in a variety of tactics like in-store returns, portals for self-service returns, and free shipping returns for exchanged goods. Customers are far more inclined to shop at your company in the coming years if they are aware of how simple your brand’s return policy is.
Taking Offline Experiences Online
Although e-commerce is becoming more popular among customers out of need, there is a growing demand for fast shopping experiences that counteract the frequently impersonal nature of online shopping.
Recent information regarding the expansion of the metaverse was not particularly ground-breaking, according to Meta (previously Facebook). Virtual/Augmented Reality, customization, and social commerce, to mention a few, are just a few examples of the technologies that make up what we’re now referring to as the “metaverse.”
At a time when the epidemic was making manual retail unfeasible or impractical for many customers, these developments are assisting in bringing the best aspects of in-store shopping into people’s browsers and increasing the e-commerce experience.
22 percent of returns are made because the item doesn’t match the buyer’s expectations after being received. By providing the enhanced quality that e-commerce frequently lacks and enabling customers to virtually “try on” things before purchasing them, augmented reality has changed the game. Such strategies significantly reduce return rates when combined with in-person interactions with customer service representatives via live chat.
This is being taken a step further by certain digitally native firms, who are shifting online commerce away from static product catalogs and into 3D-implemented virtual store experiences where customers can browse real products and even converse with avatars that resemble store personnel.
Not utilizing these technologies’ features will make your firm appear out of date as they become more widespread. Shoppers are more likely to become paying customers if they have an enjoyable buying experience.
Making Social Commerce Investments
Our current environment makes it more difficult and expensive than ever to acquire new clients. Even as more people turn to the internet to fulfill their requirements, many client acquisition tactics are now unsustainable in the long run due to rising competition, declining organic reach, and rising sponsored search prices.
Which decision is more economical? Reaching out to consumers where they are already.
Social media platforms are now the go-to place for conducting brand and product research, which has sparked the growth of social commerce, where customers may complete their full purchase process within an app for social media.
81% of respondents to a Facebook survey claimed to often use Facebook and Instagram for product research. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of customers claim that they would prefer in purchasing goods from a business if they could do all of their shopping on a social network.
The fact that most digitally native firms currently heavily rely on social media for community development and brand storytelling is one of the main benefits of social commerce, especially in the COVID-19 era when manual activations are risky. By eliminating the need to take potential consumers away from your profile to complete transactions—an obstacle that might cause customers to leave your funnel—social commerce is just an extension of these capabilities.
But if you’re going to spend money on social commerce, you must be very aware of what your target audience expects from your company. Being very active in communicating with your consumers across multiple platforms is vital for fostering high levels of social proof among consumers who will make purchases from your company. The best ways to encourage your followers to make purchases are to reply to comments, get feedback on new items, and pinpoint pain areas in the buying process.
An Opportunity Arises from Change.
There are several opportunities for retailers to expand their reach by meeting these changing customer demands as the e-commerce industry rapidly transforms in response to the retail industry’s seismic shifts. Online-to-offline encounters and Interchannel connectivities are more crucial than ever for guaranteeing customer happiness as the COVID-19 pandemic compels customers to re-evaluate their purchasing behaviors. You may meet customer expectations accurately and even have a say in how they are shaped by concentrating on the aforementioned strategies for 2022.