Like most businesses, retailers are coping with new economic realities imposed upon them by the pandemic.
The most apparent change has been the surge in online shopping sparked by widespread lockdowns. Given how important online shopping has become, merchants are well-advised to make the eCommerce experience as rewarding and efficient as possible for customers. To do this, merchants need to augment their websites with features that shoppers want, including free shipping, guarantees and refunds.
These are among the key findings from Consumer Choice At The Checkout: How Online Shopping Experiences Build Customer Loyalty, a PYMNTS and Checkout.com collaboration. We based our findings upon the PYMNTS’ Merchant Index methodology, derived from research using an anonymous shopping simulation of 510 leading merchants with annual sales from less than $50 million to more than $1 billion. We also used data from the Q2 2021 PYMNTS’ Checkout Conversion Index, which tracks online shoppers’ payment experiences, customer satisfaction and loyalty to merchants based on a survey of 2,139 consumers in the United States from July 6 through July 13.
More key findings from the study include:
- Eighty-eight percent of online shoppers say they are “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the convenience features they used during their most recent online shopping experience. These features include the ability to mark that the mailing address matches the billing address, online address confirmation, free shipping and notification of a product’s availability. Consumers also expect security, and merchant features that meet these demands earned consumers’ approval.
- The portion of merchants offering guarantees and refunds rose to 86% in Q2 from 77% in Q1. The increased availability of features such as guarantees and refunds and features that quickly add selected items to the shopping cart may be compensating for some online merchants’ decision to reduce the availability of free shipping. Eighty-five percent of consumers who used guarantees and refunds during their most recent online shopping experience say they are “very” or “extremely” satisfied with this feature.
- Sixty percent of consumers say the absence of a preferred payment method is an important factor that could cause them to change where they shop. Thirteen percent of consumers say payment-method availability is the most important factor that could cause them to switch merchants. Credit cards (43%), debit cards (37%) and PayPal (20%) are the payment methods consumers say they use most often for online shopping, and merchants may help themselves establish and sustain strong customer relationships by offering an ample range of payment options at checkout.
Merchants can increase their share of the eCommerce market by improving their websites’ checkout process. PYMNTS’ research shows that consumers are very motivated by price — for the goods they purchase and the cost of shipping. At the same time, the research also illustrates that several convenience-related issues influence consumers while they are shopping online.
To learn more about online shoppers’ checkout experiences and the steps merchants are taking to refine the checkout process, download the report.