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Marketing Study: What do Consumers Want

What Consumers Want

Study Reveals What Consumers Want From their Shopping Experience

Study confirms what most retailers already know. Consumers want businesses to make it easy and convenient to buy. This includes offering advanced mobile features, flexible shipping options, and hassle free returns.

A recent UPS and ComScore study revealed that consumers plan to research and purchase more frequently using their mobile devices, they are influenced by social media, and free shipping continues to drive purchasing decisions.

Consumers Show Preference for Small, Local Retailers

New in this year’s study, most consumers (93%) shop at small retailers:

  • 61% shopped at these locations because they offer unique products
  • 49% couldn’t find what they needed from traditional stores
  • 40% wanted to support the small business community

U.S. Consumers are Shopping Global

In addition, 40% of consumers have purchased from retailers based outside the U.S., with nearly half (49%) reporting they did so to find better prices, and 35% said they wanted items that couldn’t be found in U.S. stores.

U.S. Consumers are Shopping Multi-Channels

Online shoppers frequently change retail channels during their shopping experience. Better prices (57%) and selection (49%) are the top reasons for purchasing online after researching an item in-store. Nearly half (48%) of online shoppers have used ship to store in the past year, and 45% of those consumers made an additional purchase when picking up their online purchase.

When a purchase is made online from a retailer that has an online and physical store, 39% of consumers who make returns prefer to ship the product back while 61% prefer to return the item to the store. When making an in-store return, 70% purchase an additional item compared to only 42% who make a new purchase while processing an online return.

Respondents said they continue to use personal computers to shop and compare prices, and complement their use as they become more comfortable using mobile technology: 41% use their smartphone for research, while 30% make purchases. Online shoppers appreciate the convenience of smartphones on-the-go and in-store. Smartphone users project making more purchases on their device in the next year.

Retailers need to continue to advance their mobile platforms, as 38% who have a mobile device but do not use it to make purchases said product images are not large or clear enough, and 30% said it’s hard to compare products.

Social Media Influences Purchase Decisions

Many consumers connect to shopping activities through social media with 43% reporting they discover new products on social media sites. Facebook is the most influential channel but shoppers also embrace visually-oriented sites such as Pinterest.

Consumers are Starting to Embrace Digital Commerce

Retail continues to evolve as some online shoppers consider using mobile technologies in store: 33% find electronic shelf labels appealing, 29% said they will consider mobile checkout, and 27% said they are open to using touch screens to receive information, make purchases or arrange deliveries.

Free Shipping Drives Incremental Purchases at Checkout

Free shipping remains the most important option during checkout according to 77% of online shoppers. More than half (60%) have added items to their cart to qualify for free shipping.

The study provides insight to help retailers increase sales 48% of online shoppers said they ship items to the store, with 45% of those saying they made additional purchases when picking up their orders.

Hassle-Free Returns Make Buying Decision Easier

According to the report, only 62% of consumers are satisfied with the online returns process: 67% review a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase, 66% want free return shipping, 58% want a hassle-free “no questions asked” return policy, and 47% want an easy-to-print return label.

* A total of 5,000 U.S. consumers were surveyed.


Sallie Burnett
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