OPERATIONS

UPS study: Online consumers want omni-channel convenience, positive shipping experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sandy Springs, Ga. — Online consumers in the United States are motivated by the ability to conduct transactions across multiple channels with convenience and positive shipping experiences. These are two of the key findings of a new study from UPS and comScore, “Pulse of the Online Shopper.”

The study of more than 3,000 online U.S. shoppers conducted in February 2013 reveals that overall customer satisfaction with e-commerce is high at 83%. Ease of checkout (81%) and variety of brands and products offered (80%) are among the specific areas of e-commerce with which consumers are most satisfied, while satisfaction rates are much lower for ability to choose a specific day for delivery and flexibility to reroute packages (44% each) and green/environmentally friendly shipping (43%).

Shipping is also a dominant theme in driving customer recommendations of online retailers. A leading 68% of respondents have made a positive recommendation of an online retailer based on shipping experience, while the leading drivers of negative recommendations were shipping costs too high based on product price (59%) and expected delivery date (45%) and products arriving damaged due to shipping/packaging (43%).

Looking at aspects driving likelihood for a customer to shop with a particular retailer. The study finds omni-channel convenience issues such as the ability to buy products online and return them at the store (62%), push of location-based coupons to smartphones (47%), ability to pick up online purchases at the store (44%) and availability of tablet-specific apps (41%) as the most important.

Other findings include:

  • Fifty-one percent of respondents have used “ship to store” for an online purchase, with 38% of those buying additional products at the store.
  • Nearly half of consumers using a retailer’s mobile app are less likely to comparison shop when using an app versus a browser.
  • Forty-nine percent of respondents use a location-based social/deal service, with Groupon (35%) the most popular.
  • Eighty-four percent of respondents use at least one social site, with Facebook (77%) the most popular by a wide margin.
  • Sixty percent of respondents who “like” a brand on Facebook do so because of occasional promotions for Facebook fans.
  • Shipping costs making the total purchase more expensive than anticipated (54%) is the leading reason for Facebook cart abandonment.
  • Free shipping (76%) is the most important option in the checkout process.
  • Having to pay for shipping (60%) is the leading issue faced in returning online orders.

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Sports Authority names new chief merchandising officer

BY Staff Writer

Englewood, Colo. — Sports Authority has named Stephen Binkley, formerly senior VP of merchandising and softlines, as its new chief merchandising officer. He replaces Greg Waters, formerly executive VP, chief merchant and chief marketing officer, who has decided to leave the company after 24 years to pursue personal interests.

During his tenure at Sports Authority, Waters held several leadership roles.

“Greg has been a great asset to Sports Authority and we thank him for his contributions to the company,” commented Michael Foss, CEO, Sports Authority. “He has played an important role in strengthening company operations and in our brand’s evolution overall. Greg will be spending the next several months aiding in the transition and we thank him for that. We wish Greg the best in all of his future endeavors.”

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Study: Consumers want real apparel personalization

BY Dan Berthiaume

Emeryville, Calif. – Consumers in the U.S. and U.K. feel overwhelmed by targeted apparel marketing messages, but are responsive to messaging that includes genuinely personalized information. A new study of 409 U.S. and U.K. consumers from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) indicates that 66% of consumers say that many personalized apparel messages are annoying because attempts at personalization are superficial.

Furthermore, 71% of consumers said they receive so many targeted apparel messages that use of their name no longer makes a difference. However, when they receive a message that includes details of previous transactions or other personal details, 25% say they take it more seriously. Other interesting findings include that 75% of consumers seek information about apparel pricing and promotions through branded digital channels rather than through third-party sites.

In addition, 75% of consumers said they most want pricing and promotions from apparel retailer company channels. EIU analysis also indicates that the apparel industry stands out for its continuing use of offline marketing channels and slow adoption of online marketing channels.

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