Survey uncovers consumers’ motivations for purchasing, and preferences on speed of delivery, returns and sustainability
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – September 12, 2023 – Radial, Inc., a bpostgroup company, the leader in eCommerce solutions, today announced the results of a consumer survey that delves into the evolving dynamics of holiday shopping preferences and factors impacting brand loyalty. The findings offer brands insights and guidance on navigating the complexities of the holiday shopping season and meeting customer expectations from click to delivery.
Brands that strategically prioritize the holistic customer journey stand poised to thrive during the peak season and secure their position as customer-centric industry leaders for the long term. By emphasizing factors such as holiday promotions, increasing the flexibility and optionality tied to returns policies, and introducing more sustainable practices, brands can effectively entice and maintain a loyal customer base during this pivotal period.
“Consumer shopping habits continue to evolve driven by external factors such as inflation and brand factors such as loyalty and product preferences. Brands must remain finely attuned to these shifting dynamics to align their brand experience with their customer expectations throughout the entirety of the shopping journey,” said Laura Ritchey, Chief Executive Officer, Radial. “Gaining a deep understanding of these nuanced preferences equips brands to craft a tailored shopping experience that engages consumers during the bustling holiday season and well into the future.”
Shoppers will shop early but will decrease spend
This year, 67% of consumers plan to begin their holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This trend reflects an inclination towards staggered shopping and a concerted search for comprehensive value amid inflation. When it comes to what consumers want most this season, it’s a deal. Radial’s research spotlights the primary role of cost consciousness among today’s holiday shoppers. Promotional sales and discounts (64%) are highlighted as a top factor driving purchasing decisions, demonstrating the significance of affordability during this period.
Additionally, as inflation prompts shifts in holiday shopping behaviors, 82% of respondents indicated that they will either reduce the amount of gifts or reduce their overall spend – either in gifts, food or decorations – in some way this holiday season. Retail brands looking to grab the attention of cost-conscious shoppers should consider forecasting promotional offerings earlier in the season to drive sales.
Evolving holiday delivery and shipping dynamics
Shipping and delivery are crucial in shaping the customer experience during the holiday season. According to Radial’s research, respondents have clear preferences and concerns about how and when their orders arrive. The survey uncovered a 15% decrease in expectations for two-day delivery compared to last year, suggesting changing priorities. Around 37% now find 3-5- day delivery acceptable, and 35% are comfortable waiting a week for their orders.
The study also highlights the significant impact of free shipping on purchasing decisions, with 68% of respondents saying it influences their brand choice. This trend underscores the importance of offering competitive shipping options to attract and encourage purchases. In addition, the research revealed consumers’ growing concern for sustainable practices. More than half (57%) of respondents prioritize brands that use eco-friendly packaging and shipping, even more so than other green efforts like sustainable materials or ethical sourcing. The data reflects a shift toward eco-conscious shopping habits, allowing brands to differentiate themselves through eco-friendly shipping practices.
Easing friction between consumer expectations and brands’ returns policies
Balancing free returns and profitability poses a challenge for brands today, particularly in light of a goTRG survey that discovered that 66% of retailers now charge for returns. Navigating this delicate equilibrium has become progressively elaborate in the face of an evolving economic landscape. This is expected to be a friction point for brands and consumers as Radial’s survey reveals that 58% of respondents expect brands to cover the return shipping cost.
Recognizing the differences between brand policies and consumer expectations around returns is essential to safeguarding the overall customer experience. For brands navigating limitations on covering return shipping costs this holiday season, there are alternatives that can alleviate specific friction points. Notably, 41% of respondents seek an extended return window during the holidays, while 32% want the option to buy online and return in-store. Extending return windows and offering options like “buy online, return in-store” are actionable strategies that can positively influence customer satisfaction. These measures introduce flexibility and convenience while mitigating concerns about limited free returns.
Survey findings reinforce the critical role that a positive customer experience and exceptional service play in attracting and retaining customers during the peak season and fostering lasting loyalty well beyond it. The dynamics of the contemporary shopping experience stretch beyond the point of purchase, encompassing the entire spectrum from click to final delivery. Embracing this comprehensive and holistic approach is paramount to ensuring enduring brand loyalty this holiday season.
Radial is a reliable 3PL partner in this pursuit, offering scalable fulfillment services and complete eCommerce solutions to empower prominent retail brands. Through distinctive offerings such as omnichannel technology, fraud and payments protection, and customer care, Radial ensures timely and on-brand deliveries and elevates customer and brand experiences.
Radial conducted the survey with Dynata in July 2023, targeting 1,000 general U.S.-based consumers over 18 years of age.
Radial is the industry’s largest 3PL provider that offers integrated payment, fraud detection, and omnichannel solutions to mid-market and enterprise brands. Leveraging over 30 years of industry expertise, Radial rejects the one-size-fits-all approach, instead tailoring its services and solutions to align strategically with each brand’s unique needs.
Our team supports brands in tackling common eCommerce challenges, from maintaining delivery consistency to ensuring secure transactions. With a commitment to fulfilling promises from click to delivery, Radial empowers brands to navigate the dynamic digital landscape with the confidence and capability to deliver a seamless, secure, and superior eCommerce experience.
Daysi Robles Lopez