Consumer Study: 63% Of Online Shoppers Expect Three-Day Delivery As Standard

Shoppers are looking beyond cost when making e-Commerce purchasing decisions, according to the 2018 Consumer Trends Report from Kibo. While price is still the most important factor for 61% of shoppers, its share has fallen from 70% in 2017. At the same time, a small but growing portion of shoppers rate other factors as more important:

  • Speed of fulfillment (8%, up from 2%);
  • Online shopping experience: (8%, up from 4%); and
  • Variety of fulfillment options: (7%, up from 4%).

Flexibility and speed are particularly important purchase influencers: 40% of shoppers say taking more than two days for delivery would prevent them from making a purchase, while 63% expect delivery within three days as the standard. Making a variety of delivery options visible early in the shopper journey also is important: 76% of shoppers say having multiple fulfillment options influences their purchasing decision, up from 64% in 2017. The findings are similar to the results of the Retail TouchPoints 2018 Last Mile Survey, which reported that 65% of consumers want greater shipment flexibility and 61% want faster deliveries.

“What we’ve been seeing is a shift towards convenience and a shift towards the experience portion of the buying cycle,” said Tushar Patel, CMO at Kibo in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “As a consumer, the importance of the experience with my retailer, the experience I have online and the experience of receiving my items have gone up compared to price being the major factor.”

Usage of buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) services remains strong, and more than 66% of shoppers have chosen this option in the past six months. Avoidance of shipping fees is the most common reason, cited by 86% of shoppers, up from 79% in 2017. Other top reasons include:

  • Flexible pick-up times (85%, up from 78%);
  • The ability to touch and try merchandise (77%, up from 68%); and
  • Saving time at the store (76%, up from 71%).

When Shoppers Have A Product In Mind, They Visit Retailer Sites First

The most popular first stops for customers still researching brands or products are either a search engine (69%) or Amazon (61%). However, when a shopper knows what product and brand they want, 65% prefer going directly to a retailer’s web site. Other common destinations include:

  • A major retail store (47%);
  • A branded manufacturer’s web site (31%); and
  • An online marketplace (27%).

 

In comparison, when a shopper has a product in mind, but not a brand, their preferred channels are:

 

  • A retailer’s web site (66%);
  • A major retail store (41%);
  • An online marketplace (26%); and
  • A branded manufacturer’s web site (25%).

 

Retailers can use search engine optimization (SEO) to attract consumers to their web sites, but more work is needed to turn those visits into purchases. Approximately 87% of shoppers are influenced by peer reviews, and 91% have relied on reviews to make a purchasing decision in the past six months.

 

While 74% of shoppers are still somewhat, very or extremely influenced by interactive content that informs them about a product, that total is down from 92% in 2017. However, this doesn’t mean interactive content is becoming less important; rather, it indicates that shoppers need information to be tailored to them to drive engagement.

 

“When you’re catering to an individual’s intent and behaviors and their preferences, that’s when you’re really going to get the engagement,” said Patel. “What we’ve seen for retailers, and manufacturers as well, is when they’re driving individualized interactive content, that’s when you can get the most bang for your buck.”

 

Home Page Personalization Influences 63% Of Shoppers

 

Personalization can have a significant impact on purchasing decisions, but the most effective methods are changing. Approximately 63% of shoppers have been influenced by personalized recommendations on a homepage, down from 88% in 2017, while 50% of shoppers have been influenced by shopping cart recommendations, down from 93%. The influence of personalization is rapidly growing on the product page itself: 64% of consumers are influenced by recommendations there, up from 19% in 2017.

 

These results imply that many shoppers already know what they want by the time they visit a retailer’s web site and are skipping directly to the purchase. Retailers must make sure the checkout process remains simple even as they add personalization at the tail end of the buying journey: 78% of consumers say a simple, streamlined shopping cart influences their completion of a purchase.

 

“If you see what’s happening with mobile, see what’s happening with voice-enabled devices, experience is key,” said Patel. “No one buys on Alexa because it’s necessarily a cheaper way of doing it, but because the experience of buying is frictionless. Consumers are going to go towards the most friction-free way to shop whenever they’re given the option.”

 

Instacart Closes $350 Million Fundraising Round To Accelerate Expansion

Instacart raised $350 million in a Series E financing round led by Coatue Management, putting the grocery delivery company’s valuation at $4.35 billion. The round includes $200 million in funding that Instacart previously announced in a February blog post. The company has raised more than $1 billion since its founding in 2012.

Instacart will use the capital to double the size of its team, further expand its footprint across North America and invest in new products and services. The company has partnered with major grocery retailers including Kroger, Albertsons, Publix, Costco, Ahold Delhaize, HEB, Loblaw and Sam’s Club, and recently added BJ’s Wholesale Club and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market as well.

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Shopgate Creates VP Strategy And Solutions Role

Mike Haze

Mike HazeShopgate has appointed Michael Haze to the newly created position of VP of Strategy and Solutions. Haze will work with retailers to enhance the mobile shopping experience and expand the Software as a Service (SaaS) platform’s functionality, with tools including loyalty programs and in-store augmented reality (AR) capabilities.

Haze previously worked at Kibo Commerce as VP of Commerce Strategy and Solutions, where he was the leader of the solution engineering team. He also has served as VP of Product and Strategy Solutions at Mozu, where he created, built and executed strategic solutions for clients and partners.

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VR In Marketing And Retail Could Generate $1.8 Billion By 2022

The use of virtual reality (VR) in the retail and marketing sectors is expected to generate $1.8 billion in 2022, up from $181 million in the last year, according to ABI Research. The technology has reached a point where VR can further enhance the at-home shopping experience.

The fashion, beauty and furniture industries have been the quickest to adopt VR and augmented reality (AR), with retailers including Macy’s, L’Oréal, IKEA and Ashley Furniture investing in these capabilities.

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Toys ‘R’ Us Shuts Down E-Commerce Site As Liquidation Continues

While many Toys ‘R’ Us stores are still operating as they hold going-out-of-business sales, the retailer wasted no time officially shutting down the online presence for Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us.

The retailer issued a statement on the front page of toysrus.com, notifying shoppers that they can no longer purchase toys, games or other items from the site:

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The Real Retail Shakeup: A Split Between Value And Experience

The media may be quick to proclaim retail doom, but the industry’s upheaval is more of a renaissance than an apocalypse, according to The Great Retail Bifurcation report from Deloitte. Weakness in some areas is being offset by strength in others, and in-store sales grew $30 billion annually between 2012 and 2016, while e-Commerce sales grew $40 billion annually.

The industry’s real split isn’t between physical and digital channels but between value– and experience-focused retailers. Macroeconomic factors are playing a significant role in creating this divide. While average household income has returned to pre-recession levels, the bottom 80% of households have only received 7% of capital gains since 2007, and their shopping habits have changed to reflect their reduced spending power.

“What we’ve identified are pretty significant changes that are driven by the economic situation of the consumer,” said Kasey Lobaugh, Chief Innovation Officer, Retail & Distribution at Deloitte in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The best retailers are those retailers that identify how consumers are changing, and best modify their value propositions to deliver upon those needs.”

Balanced retailers, which offer value through sales and deals, have been squeezed on one side by price-based retailers that focus on selling at the lowest possible prices, and on the other side by premier retailers offering highly differentiated products or experiences. Revenue increased 81% at premier and 37% at price-based retailers over the past five years, while balanced retailers only saw a 1% increase.

Store Openings Greatly Outpace Closures

Store closings among balanced retailers are driving the apocalyptic narrative, but they fail to tell the whole story. A representative sample studied by Deloitte found balanced retailers shuttered a net 108 stores between 2015 and 2017, but price-based retailers opened a net 264 locations during the same period and premier retailers added 109 net openings to the total.

The rapid expansion of price-based retailers comes despite relatively little investment in technology on their part, according to Lobaugh. They find success in their ability to adapt to customer trends by delivering on value, often at the expense of providing a significant digital presence, particularly in mobile.

“At the end of the day, what matters is the consumer’s desires, demands, wants and needs,” said Lobaugh. “If you can understand and respond to those, that’s the secret sauce, and it may or may not involve technology.”

Millennials Aren’t As E-Commerce Obsessed As Believed

It’s true that there is a divide between shoppers who prefer e-Commerce or brick-and-mortar, but the preferences fall along economic rather than generational lines. Approximately three out of five low-income shoppers (58%) prefer browsing in-store, while a slight majority of high-income shoppers (52%) skew towards buying online.

The trend holds across generations, including Millennials. While 79% of low-income and 81% of middle-income Millennials are likely to shop in stores — similar to other generations — high-income Millennials are 24% less likely than all non-Millennial shoppers to shop in a store. High-income Millennials account for just 19% of the generation, but their exaggerated behavior skews the perception of the entire cohort.

“When you begin to tease it apart and look at it in a more granular way you discover some really interesting behaviors, demands and needs,” Lobaugh said. “For us this is a big ‘a-ha’ moment, because what we’re seeing is retailers have to be more and more granular about truly understanding the consumer, what they need and how they need to deliver it. The more we average things together and talk about the consumer or the Millennial consumer, the more we miss out on these unique insights.”

Lobaugh will speak at the Retail TouchPoints Retail Innovation Conference, expanding on his findings in a keynote entitled The Factors Fueling The Great Retail Bifurcation. The event will be take place April 30 to May 2 at Convene in New York City.

Overstock Leverages Journey Analysis To Spot Customer Loyalty Opportunities

Overstock is boosting its customer journey analysis through a partnership with Teradata, a cloud-based data and analytics company. The e-Commerce retailer will leverage data from the Teradata Path Analysis program to reduce unnecessary marketing spend and identify customer loyalty opportunities.

“Teradata is helping Overstock visually analyze and understand customer behavior,” said Joe Kambeitz, Vice President of Product Management & Marketing Analytics at Overstock in a statement. “Path analysis may sound like a simple concept, but it’s actually incredibly challenging to perform, especially in the hands of non-specialists. Anyone who has ever tried to unlock this type of analysis will understand — the visualizations and capabilities of this solution make it extremely easy without sacrificing deep understanding.”

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Instant Financing Offers Drive Sales, Decrease Cart Abandonment

E-Commerce retailers in the U.S. recognize the value of instant financing offers, and 64% believe providing financing options through their online store is important to driving new and increased sales, according to a survey from Klarna. Another 46% believe such services decrease cart abandonment, which is a pressing concern for retailers.

Instant financing is a revolving line of credit that shoppers can apply for during online checkout, letting them spread payments out over time with low annual percentage rate (APR) offers. The option is particularly appealing to Millennials, as fewer than 33% of them carry credit cards, according to a 2016 Bankrate survey.

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‘Bad Bots’ Account For More Than 20% Of E-Commerce Traffic

Malicious bots don’t just target social media sites —they can affect e-Commerce retailers, and their activity is on the rise, according to the 2018 Bad Bot Report from Distil Networks. Bad bots’ share of all web site traffic rose 9.5% in 2017, to 21.8%.

Bad bots, which accounted for 21.45% of e-Commerce traffic during the year, can attack retailers in multiple ways, including:

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Study: 81% Of Shoppers Have Abandoned An Online Cart

Online retailers know that intent to purchase doesn’t guarantee a sale, but the cart abandonment challenge may be bigger than anyone wants to admit. In fact, 81% of shoppers have abandoned an online shopping cart at some point, according to ContentSquare. Money issues are by far the most common reasons for abandoning an order, cited by 74% of shoppers. These include not being able to afford a purchase or finding a better deal elsewhere.

Other reasons that shoppers stop short of transacting include:

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