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Online shoppers in Asia demand flexibility: UPS survey

Zafirah Salim | March 24, 2015
The study noted that creating personalised e-commerce experiences and providing alternate delivery locations can help retailers to boost customer satisfaction.

Online shoppers in Asia are the least satisfied with their online and in-store shopping experiences, according to a UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study.

Conducted in September and October 2014, the study polled more than 5,200 online shoppers across five Asian countries - China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Singapore.

Countering the earlier finding, the study noted that creating personalised e-commerce experiences and providing alternate delivery locations can help retailers to boost customer satisfaction.

In fact, almost half (48 percent) of Asian online shoppers embrace new shopping trends, according to the study. The market has the second highest adoption rate of curated subscription services - a tactic retailers use to help consumers discover products based on their preferences and purchase history.

China has the highest number of online shoppers enrolled in such services at 68 percent, followed by South Korea (55 percent) and Singapore (49 percent). However, Japanese online shopping shoppers are found to be the least interested in this service, with only 18 percent of respondents enrolled.

Besides personalised experiences, alternate delivery locations can also help to increase customer satisfaction levels. According to the study, Asia leads all markets with 45 percent of respondents stating they prefer to have their online orders delivered to locations other than their home.

When they are unavailable to sign for a package, 33 percent said they want their items shipped to a local retail location authorised to hold packages for pickup at their convenience. These locations are a popular choice for 47 percent of Hong Kong online shoppers, but the least preferred in China (27 percent).

Mobile research influence purchasing decisions

Another key finding of the survey is that although purchasing via desktop and laptop devices is still common, mobile usage continues to impact the path to purchase.

In Asia, consumers use their mobile devices to track deliveries, as well as to research products prior to a store visit, in-store, and when making actual purchases. Chinese and Hong Kong (76 percent) and South Korean (75 percent) smartphone shoppers prefer making purchases on a smartphone.

To drive conversion from research to active consumption, retailers should consider enhancing their mobile platforms. Top concerns include product images not being clear or large enough (50 percent), product information not able to be viewed easily (42 percent) and technical difficulties when comparing products on websites (41 percent).

Besides these mobile limitations, retailers should also look at offering free shipping and better return policies, as these two factors are also cited as key drivers to online shopping in the study.

Results also show that the advent of the 'flex shopper' - an online buyer who easily switches channels and devices when evaluating and purchasing products - expects a seamless retail experience from research to delivery.


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