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Steve Jobs once noted in an early TED talk, "You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards." Perhaps now more than ever, that is true for those striving to succeed in e-commerce.
Understanding what makes customers tick can drive success. After all, double-digit growth in both B2C and B2B e-commerce means there's plenty of opportunity. Although competition is keen, retailers who work to meet or exceed customer expectations can win.
"Understanding what makes customers tick can drive success."
The latest research by UPS digs deeply into what today's online shoppers expect and how they behave. In the 2015 UPS Pulse of the Online ShopperTM study, comScore polled 5,118 online consumers who made two or more online retail purchases in a three-month period.
The study findings reveal that today's empowered shoppers are more connected than ever, don't follow a single path to purchase and want a more flexible, more convenient shopping experience. Day in and day out they will:
At UPS, we've observed that many business-to-business buyers are now expecting the same high-level customer experience as B2C-and Forrester reports B2B buyers are taking a similar "digital first" approach. Forrester predicts B2B e-commerce will reach $780 billion in 2015, more than twice the $304 billion in retail e-commerce banked in 2014 according to Department of Commerce figures.
In addition to embracing new technologies, consumers now use a broader array of "touch points" before and during shopping. Recent Nielsen research found that the most popular among all consumers (second only to printed circulars) are digital, including e-mails from stores, store websites, money-saving sites/blogs, social media and store apps.
"Three out of four shoppers report using social media, and 43 percent discovered new products as a result."
The UPS study supports those findings as well. Three out of four shoppers report using social media, and 43 percent discovered new products as a result. Nearly half of those using Facebook and Pinterest either liked a retailer or pinned products. And mobile apps can be big for engaged shoppers. Four out of five mobile shoppers have used an app, and 24 percent use a retailer's app weekly.
Against this backdrop it's clear that getting the fundamentals right is critical. While there are excellent opportunities for even the smallest retailer providing buyers with the right information, superior customer service and world-class logistics is more important than ever.
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