Don't see much difference between free shipping or a discount when it comes to promotions? Customers do.
Market research firm Lab42 conducted a survey of men and women (with more than half of them ages 25 to 44). Among the findings were that 79 percent said they'd rather you pick up the shipping costs than offer a discount.
Also, some 70 percent of respondents said they shop online because of better sales and promotions. And speaking of free shipping: Nearly all (96 percent) said they'd be more likely to shop at a site running that promotion. Almost as many (87 percent) said they'd be swayed by free returns.
Where (and How) They Shop
The survey also showed that respondents overwhelmingly shop from home (95 percent) on a traditional computer. (Just under 4 percent said they shopped from a smartphone or tablet.) And showing how many purchases are done online, nearly 75 percent of the group said they do at least half of their shopping online, while 66 percent said they preferred to shop online rather than in a store.
Three-quarters (73 percent) of those surveyed said they shopped online more now than even two years ago, and just 5 percent said they shopped less.
The Importance of Feedback
Customer reviews remain crucial to the online shopping experience, with 81 percent saying reviews influenced them to buy, and exactly the same amount saying reviews also could influence them not to buy. Reviews that are positive but less than five-star still work, by the way: 77 percent said they thought favorably of four-star reviews. Respondents were a little more mixed about what was considered negative: 53.4 percent said two stars or less, but 34 percent said a review that technically is average (three stars) they'd consider negative.
It may be worth directly requesting happy customers post favorable reviews, as roughly half of those surveyed admitted they'd written fewer than 10 reviews, and 20 percent said they'd never posted a single review. What made customers most likely to pass judgment in print? If the package never came was the number one reason, followed by "happy with the product" and "happy with the seller."
Chances are two in three that if you've made a sale online, it's not going to be returned:
Sixty-two percent of respondents said they "rarely" returned items bought online.
Online shoppers frequently said they bought things online they wouldn't buy in store (40 percent), but just 30 percent said they bought online from shops they would not visit in person.
Asked to compare online shopping with the in-person variety, online shopping was a big winner in almost every category. Two-third "overwhelmingly agreed" that online shopping is more convenient, and 59 percent said it was easier to browse. Online shoppers were less enamored of the online returns process: Just 10 percent strongly agreed it was easier than going to a store in-person and returning an item. And respondents were split about whether prices were better online or in stores.