What On-line Buyers Count on in 2021

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The pandemic-induced shift to online shopping is permanent for many consumers. That’s the good news for ecommerce businesses. The less good news is that consumer expectations have increased. Here are seven of them.

7 Post-Pandemic Buyer Expectations

Easy returns. Flexible return policies remain crucial for most online shoppers. Amazon has the edge in this case and offers customers the option of dropping off at Amazon Lockers, Kohl’s or UPS stores. Some retailers allow customers to create a free shipping label and have a scheduled UPS driver collect the return. Find a way to ease the burden of returns and exchanges. It will increase loyalty and reduce chargebacks.

Amazon customers can return goods at Kohl’s, UPS Stores and Amazon Lockers, for example here in a small town in western Texas. Author’s picture.

Social media purchase. Consumers of all ages now love to shop on social media platforms. Brands looking to stay in the know should take advantage of social inclusion tools. Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok – all of them have seen shopping spikes since the beginning of 2020.

Mobile-first. Thanks largely to gaming apps, which have seen unprecedented growth, and social media, consumers are using their smartphones first. Brands that focus on mobile increase their chances of success. However, do not lock desktops. Cross-device shopping remains popular.

Personalized experiences. A once-trendy feature is now essential to business survival. But there is a catch: online users in 2021 value privacy and security. So find ways to personalize shopping sessions without being scary. An easy way to do this is to sign in, where shoppers access their accounts while browsing and shopping.

Fast and inexpensive order processing. Buyers are willing to wait a few days to receive non-essential items. Nevertheless, the speed of incoming orders influences a customer’s loyalty. According to McKinsey & Company, deliverability is a primary reason consumers switch brands. Take the time to criticize your fulfillment process, from receipt of order to delivery to the customer’s doorstep.

Greener offers. Consumers increasingly prefer retailers who value ecological sustainability. Get inspiration from leading organic brands that offer products with waste-free or reusable packaging.

Live help anytime. Consumers have questions. The best time to reply is when they shop on your website. FAQs and chatbots only help to a limited extent. Consider offering live chat 24/7. Otherwise, make it available during business hours and respond to email and social media queries almost instantly.

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