In 2014 online retail, or e-retail, sales globally totalled $1,336bn. By next year that figure is predicted to be $3,015bn. That’s a market that is tripling in size in just a few years. New sales channels are helping e-retail to grow this fast. Many sales are now coming from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, chat tools are offering the ability for transactions, and social media offers customers the opportunity to discuss and purchase products.
The Teleperformance CX Lab recently conducted research into consumer attitudes to e-retail across a number of different global markets, including the USA. Across the eight markets studied, attitudes vary widely, showing that local knowledge is critical to developing successful omnichannel strategies. For example, Americans were by far among the most satisfied (8.9) and loyal (9.0) customers, and the most likely to advocate for a brand (58 percent). The Chinese, on the other hand, were the least satisfied (7.5), loyal (8.2), and least likely to be brand advocates (11 percent).
On average, 43 percent of respondents across all countries were likely to be advocates. The average satisfaction score was 8.4 and the average loyalty score was 8.6. The difference between American and Chinese customers has a great deal to do with recent
and historical shopping experiences. The Chinese government estimates that nearly one out of three people who regularly shop online have been conned online.
Chinese shoppers recognize some luxury brands as status symbols. However, when it comes to everyday purchases, their loyalties are less certain. The concept of brands is relatively new in China, so consumers have not built up an affinity for everyday labels. The survey showed differentiation between generations, as well. While Traditionalists and Baby Boomers were the most likely to report higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty, and more likely to be advocates, younger generations were more critical.
Members of Generation X and Millennials showed lower rates of satisfaction, loyalty and likelihood of becoming brand advocates. The separation across generations shows that within each market, e-retail businesses must differentiate themselves from their competition to build loyalty.
Younger generations are used to having a multitude of shopping options, all of which compete to provide the highest quality products and services. Companies intent on keeping younger generations loyal must over deliver on the brand attributes that they value most. Across all generations, the data revealed that the most important brand attributes are:
• Transaction security
• Product range
• Trustworthiness of the website
Together, these three qualities make up 66 percent of the total impact on brand loyalty. With ever increasing demands on mobile technology, it is clear that ensuring security and reinforcing trustworthiness and reliability will be important for companies that seek to distinguish themselves in this market.
E-retailers face an increasingly large, competitive environment. To differentiate themselves, they must meet customer needs for more mobile and digital solutions, tighten security and improve service. E-retailers that embrace an omnichannel customer service solution will have an advantage, not only in the future, but today. The right partnerships are critical to fulfilling these imperatives.
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Photo by XoMEox licensed under Creative Commons.