E-commerce consumers have evolving priorities and expectations of online sellers and are now more often looking for free delivery, free product giveaways and high-quality products over fancy packaging and elaborate unboxing videos, according to the results of a survey from e-commerce fulfillment firm Dotcom Distribution, outlined in a post from Material Handling & Logistics.
About 91% of 1,400 consumers surveyed said being offered free shipping from a seller would make them more likely to become a repeat customer, while 90% said they found a free returns capability to be important or very important.
Also, the ability to receive even a small branded giveaway from a seller is becoming more important to customers. More than 20% (23%) said they would be more likely to become repeat customers after receiving a free giveaway with an item they had purchased, and the same amount would be likely to recommend a brand that gave them something for free with an order.
The power of free giveaways is especially strong among younger demographics, as 75% of Gen Z survey respondents and 60% of millennial respondents said free giveaways were likely to turn them into repeat customers. Yet, consumers don't want to trade quality for the ability to get free delivery, returns or giveaways. About 75% of those surveyed said product quality is still the top reason they would recommend a brand to others.
While some of these findings may not seem too surprising, Dotcom Distribution noted in its report on the survey that a few years ago the e-commerce consumers it surveyed were more interested in gift-like packaging, product presentation and unboxing experiences.
While the desire for faster shipping is widely viewed as the new standard, a comparison of results from Dotcom's most recent survey and its surveys in previous years shows evidence of changing attitudes about the cost of express shipping. The 2018 survey found that only 25% of respondents said they would pay extra for fast shipping, a huge decline from two years ago, when 47% of survey respondents said they were willing to pay $9 or more for the right to faster shipping.
The biggest takeaway from the survey might be that the attitudes and expectations of e-commerce consumers are constantly and quickly changing. Blame Amazon for training them to continue expecting new innovations at a rapid pace, and more flexible fulfillment options.