New research suggests than one in five shoppers are routinely disappointed by their online purchases, forcing many to return goods or switch to other retailers.
A survey of 2,000 online shoppers in the UK commissioned by inRiver, a product management tech provider, also revealed that almost a third of shoppers (31 per cent) will jump to another site within 10 seconds if the information available on an item is lacking.
If shoppers find that a product is not what they expected once it is delivered, 48 per cent will return items.
The finding comes after a separate survey from BrightPearl highlighted the impact of returns on online businesses, and suggested that nearly half of retailers were planning to blacklist the ‘serial returners’ who are wreaking havoc on revenue projections.
The inRiver study found no let-up in the dominance of Amazon as the leading e-commerce portal, with 45 per cent of shoppers reporting that they start their search on the marketplace, compared to 28 per cent who use a search engine as a first point of call and just 11 per cent who head directly to a brand’s website as a first source of information.
Shoppers also said they would abandon their shopping cart if a number of key features about a product were missing from its description, including images (20 per cent), stock availability (25 per cent) and pricing information (39 per cent).
Technology is fast providing new avenues for customers to virtually test products, the survey showed. One third of those asked said that videos showing products in different contexts were helpful with their purchasing decisions, while 18 per cent wanted to see the products demonstrated by social media influencers.
The appeal of so-called ‘influencer marketing’ is strongest among 18-24 year olds, with 28 per cent saying that seeing the product tested by a trusted influencer would give them more confidence to buy.
YouTube is the most trusted platform for video information about new products (49 per cent said it was their most trusted) followed by Facebook (32 per cent).
Responding to the findings, Thor Johnson, chief executive of inRiver, said: “Costly online returns drive profits into the ground for many retailers, forcing prices up on product, delivery or service.”
He highlighted the need for online retailers to provide accurate product information alongside consumer reviews help products match customers’ expectations.
“Consumers’ expectations have increased, and they want to see products in context, as they would in-store, to give them the confidence to buy. Good product information is essential in turning browsers into buyers” he added.