Jim Agger
July 21, 2014 | eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping | Jim Agger

Consumers Want More Flexibility in Their Shopping and Shipping

When customers visit your online wine store, they aren't just there because they like your brand. They also want to get some decent wine and feel like they're in a real wine shop when doing so. Running a basic site that sells wine isn't enough anymore to placate the needs of most consumers. Ecommerce solutions should have a far greater emphasis on combining online and mobile stores into one comprehensive experience, meaning that your store should have the feel and effect of a local shop that you can visit anywhere. Recent studies have indicated that having such an all-inclusive approach for your shop is a new trend among consumers and reflects certain shifts in the retail sector.

Making the consumer experience flexible
UPS released its annual "Pulse of the Online Shopper" survey recently. The shipping firm explained many consumer trends in the online retail sector based on surveys with customers in several nations around the globe. With the rise of mobile shopping, there is a greater desire on making things easier for the customer to complete their transaction and consider the matter of browsing a convenience rather than a hassle. The emphasis seems to be on consumers wanting flexibility when looking up and purchasing an item they want. To prove this point, the survey showed a majority wanted to purchase an item while visiting an online store as a guest. While these customers may not be necessarily loyal, wine merchants should still pay some attention to them because they will drive a significant chunk of sales.

Other reports in the survey indicated both a desire to do the online equivalent of window shopping and an increase in impulse buying. On the one hand, around 62 percent of those surveyed wanted to know if the product they were interested was in stock, while 47 percent used their mobile devices to research the product they were interested in, either while browsing prior to visiting or at the store itself. This hands-off approach to shopping eases the customer experience for many. On the other hand, 57 percent of respondents said they wanted their information saved to make future purchases easier, and nearly 7 out of 10 said they wanted checkout to be no more than two clicks, both of which make snap purchases a far simpler process.

Diverse shipping, easy returns
Then, there is the matter of shipping the product out to your customers, which still greatly influences their decision-making processes when purchasing online. This is something wineries should be paying attention to, given the finicky nature of shipping wine. About 72 percent of those surveyed desired to see the expected delivery date of the product they wanted to buy, usually on the product page itself. More than 65 percent also wanted variety with their shipping options. In another UPS survey, 4 out of 5 saw free shipping as a major factor in making a purchase, and more than half surveyed would be fine doing this by meeting a threshold on items added to the shopping cart or dollars spent on a purchase. While free shipping is not an option for wine merchants, having shipping included in a similar manner works just as well.

Just as important is the ability to return items. There has been a 5 percent increase in reading return policies among those surveyed between 2012 and 2014, indicating a desire to know this ahead of time. This is particularly important in America where even the receivers of gifts are incredibly picky. The more convenient the return policy is to the consumer, the more likely he or she will purchase an item.


Daniel's Gravatar
@ Jul 22, 2014 at 3:04 PM
It won't be long before wine retailers will no longer be able to ship wine across state lines, so all a moot point, I fear.

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