Online shoppers tend to be value shoppers, with more than 42% of e-commerce buyers in the U.S. spending less than $100 per month online, a figure that rises to 56% among online shoppers in the U.K., according to a survey of 4,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia from omnichannel technology company Radial.
The survey results further showed that more than 60% of respondents across all four regions said buying something at the lowest possible price is most important to them when shopping online.
Free shipping is also a common demand, especially in the U.S. where more than 60% of consumers expect it, and only 23.5% said they are willing to pay up to $10 for shipping, according to the Radial survey.
Some of what’s in the Radial report echoes findings reported in the National Retail Federation’s Consumer View quarterly study, emailed to Retail Dive. Consumer View suggested that more than 73% of online shoppers browse shopping sites with a specific purchase in mind, which in turn suggests they are looking for the right deal, and not intent to go on a buying binge picking up a lot of other merchandise.
Although the biggest similarity between the two studies has to do with free and low-cost shipping. NRF’s Consumer View reported that 68% of online shoppers expect free shipping even on purchases of less than $50, and 47% said they would even back out of making a specific purchase if free shipping was not included.
On top of that, Consumer View found that 38% of online shoppers expect two-day shipping to be free, and 24% also expect free same-day shipping. Meanwhile, the Radial survey notes that fast delivery continues to be an important issue, with almost 35% of respondents saying they expect purchases to be delivered in two days or less, and another 34% expecting delivery in under a week. Also, only a small number — less than 9% across all regions where consumers were surveyed — said delivery times “don’t matter” to them.
These studies together hint that not only is value important in online purchasing, but also that shipping is assumed to be part of the overall value scenario. Some retailers still offer free shipping only as part of special sales and promotions, but it is becoming clear that free shipping offers may soon (or are already) be table stakes for retail competitors.
That means retailers need to figure out how to absorb the cost of universally available free shipping, while also figuring out what else they can do to create a competitive edge in a world where everyone may soon offer free shipping.