Shoppers in Asia are dissatisfied with their experience shopping online. Most respondents want free and fast shipping, as well as free and easy return policies. Source: UPS

Here’s what customers want from an online retailer

CONSUMERS in Asia record the highest dissatisfaction with their online shopping experience, according to a study commissioned by international courier UPS.

Nearly half (43 percent) of the shoppers in Asia are unhappy with their time shopping online, the highest percentage compared to other regions globally.

This is significant, considering 98 percent of respondents have purchased from an online marketplace. It is the preferred method of shopping as online marketplaces tend to offer better prices and discounted shipping.

Most respondents quote free and fast shipping and easy return policies as key reasons they choose to shop online.

Around half of the shoppers in Asia add items to their cart to qualify for free shipping. Shoppers only paid for shipping for 15 percent of all orders made last year. This shows that free shipping is an important factor for customers buying items from a certain online retailer.

Having said that, if shipping takes too long, or if no delivery date is given, shoppers will abandon the cart. On average, if the waiting time is more than 11 days, half of the respondents said they would bail out.

Sylvie Van den Kerkhof, Vice President of Marketing, UPS Asia Pacific

Sylvie Van den Kerkhof, Vice President of Marketing, UPS Asia Pacific

On the flip side, most shoppers are dissatisfied with return policies. Those who’ve had a favorable experience for making returns, often returned to purchase new items from the online store. For businesses, having convenient return policies could boost sales and retain long-term and returning customers.

“Analyzing the mindsets and motivations of thousands of shoppers around the world reveals that, far from being a sunk cost, clever shipping and returns solutions are actually an area where retailers can win and retain customers, drive repeat patronage, and encourage shoppers to add more items to their carts – both online and in-store,” said Sylvie Van den Kerkhof, Vice President of Marketing, UPS Asia Pacific.

Asian vendors will need to look at improving their services, to fight against an international market. The report shows that almost half of the shoppers will opt for overseas retailers if the product is not available at home, or if quality or price was better overseas.

Having said that, most Asian consumers (77 percent) would prefer to buy from retailers in Asia. This indicates that there’s great potential for small businesses, especially in the regional market.

Unsurprisingly, the smartphone is the preferred method for shopping online.

More than three-quarters of Asian shoppers placed orders on their phones, which is the highest percentage globally. In comparison, less than half of Americans shop on their smartphones.

Interestingly, brick-and-mortar isn’t quite dead, but rather could boost sales for businesses. Consumers are choosing for items to be shipped to stores, with 60 percent of them making an additional purchase while in the store.

“The research shows time and again that as online shoppers gain the benefit of greater choice, they are increasingly dictating the terms of their buying experience—and it is vital that retailers know how to cater to and adapt to their changing needs,” added Van den Kerkhof.