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Survey: Hassle-free returns, speedy delivery and tracking capabilities important to online shoppers

RESTON, Va. — Sixty-three percent of online shoppers look at a retailer's return policy before making a purchase, and nearly half said that they would shop more often and recommend a retailer with a lenient returns policy, according to a new study by ComScore. The report, commissioned by UPS, evaluates consumer shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery. It is based on a ComScore survey of more than 3,100 U.S. online shoppers.

The report, the "Online Shopping Customer Experience Study," reveals that hassle-free returns and exchanges rank above average in terms of importance for shoppers but rank low in terms of current customer satisfaction, showing a significant area of opportunity for retailers.

"While free shipping has tended to dominate the discussion regarding what provides satisfaction to online shoppers, the study shows there are several other factors critical to a positive online shopping experience," ComScore director Susan Kleinman said. “Retailers need a holistic understanding of these drivers if they hope to stimulate sales while maintaining healthy margins in this competitive retail environment."

Consumers currently are most satisfied with the ease of checking out, the variety of brands and products available and online delivery tracking ability. They are least satisfied with the current level of flexibility in choosing delivery dates.

At least 42% of online shoppers reported abandoning their shopping carts because of delivery timing estimates, according to the study. While two-thirds of shoppers choose the most inexpensive shipping option, more than 40% expect to see the availability of two-three day delivery and nearly one-third of shoppers wanted the option to choose overnight shipping.

The need for speed is also important, with 48% of online shoppers not willing to wait more than five days for packages to be delivered. One-third of shoppers said they most often choose to pay a fee for faster delivery.

Online shoppers also said they valued having tracking capabilities to know when their packages would arrive; 46% said receiving their orders when expected would lead them to recommend an online retailer. The ability to reroute a package and schedule a two-hour delivery window is also important for shoppers in the delivery process.

To download a copy of the report, click here.

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