online shopper

Pitney Bowes just released an online shopping study reporting that consumer dissatisfaction with the holiday shopping experience has reached 60 percent, nearly double from 2015 and up 4 percentage points from last year.

The company also found the more often a consumer shops, the more likely they are to be frustrated.

“Despite the significant investments retailers and marketplaces are making in the online shopping experience, consumers continue to be disappointed, especially around the holidays,” said Lila Snyder, executive vice president and president, commerce services at Pitney Bowes.

Pitney Bowes said the top three reasons for consumer frustration are due to delayed shipments, shipping costs and inaccurate tracking. This study follows a report by WWD earlier this week where UPS predicted a record-breaking amount of return shipments for this holiday season.

“Returns seem to have become an unconscious behavior for some frequent online shoppers,” Snyder said. “In response to our survey, consumers said they return less than 10 percent of their online purchases, but in reality, we know the number is much closer to 25 percent.”

This year’s study additionally asked consumers to relate online shipping experiences with emotions and ranges of enjoyable or unpleasant experiences. In this exercise, 86 percent of respondents reported poor post-purchase experiences was like “having a root canal.” Among factors that evoked a similar association were receiving a wrong or damaged item, taking too long to receive a refund after a return, an inconvenient returns process and having to pay for shipping.

According to Pitney Bowes, “free shipping remains the number-one loyalty driver an online retailer can offer consumers.” Further, the company found online shoppers would see an improvement of the post-purchase experience when offered fast and free shipping, and free and easy returns.

Nearly one-third of respondents said a “bad post-purchase experience is cause for never shopping with the offending brand again.”

Snyder said as the percentage of consumer spending online continues to grow, “retailers need to shift resources and investments to areas like fast and free shipping, accurate tracking, and free and easy returns to keep up with consumer expectations.” In the company’s press release of the study, Pitney Bowes touted services that support retailers and other shippers in fulfillment, delivery, returns and cross-border.

For More WWD Business News:

Credit Karma Says Americans Expect Debt This Holiday Season

Happy Holidays: Consumers Spending 4 Percent More on Gifts, NRF Says

Consumers Chase Convenience This Holiday Shopping Season


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