2012 Online Shopping Customer Experience Study


Research Report Synopsis by Chris Kirby

In November 2012, VHT released the Online Shopping Customer Experience Study. The research investigated the online purchase experience of consumers across various devices including smartphone. By evaluating the shopping habits of consumers this report reveals the pain points consumers have to endure and their consequences for organisations.

A survey of 400 US consumers identified the following key insights:

  • 91.8% of consumers own more than one device (including desktop computer, laptop, netbook, smartphone, tablet, eReader).
  • The top three most often used devices for online shopping and purchasing are laptop (42.8%), desktop (37.5%) and smartphone (12.5%).
  • Nearly half of consumers (45%) are browsing online on a daily basis.
  • The top three categories consumers are purchasing online are Apparel (79.8%), Books (68.0%) and Household Goods (63.5%).
  • Nearly half of consumers (47.8%) spend $0-$100 per month with a further third (32.8%) spending an average of $101-$250.
  • The top 3 retailer websites visited are amazon.com (23%), Walmart (16%) and ebay (15%).
  • Nearly 6 in 10 (59.8%) of consumers report that they have been frustrated or had problems trying to make online purchases.
  • The top three frustrations expressed by consumers are ‘having problems correctly reading and using the captcha (60.3%), ‘having trouble using promo codes, gift card redemption, or with other discount’ (46.0%) and ‘the product was back-ordered’ (32.2%).
  • In addition nearly two thirds (59.8%) of consumers attempting to make an online purchase said they ‘Had been frustrated trying to obtain help to solve an online purchase problem.
  • When consumers experience an issue, 37.7% report they will leave the site or give up, 34.3% will seek further assistance, whilst 25.5% will shop elsewhere.
  • In most instances, consumers who seek further assistance will call customer service (46.3%) and a further third (35.4%) will use web chat to contact customer service.
  • When presented with a solution that provides a service whereby consumers can click or tap within the website/app to receive an immediate or scheduled callback from customer service, nearly half (49.8%) rated this as extremely desirable and nearly two thirds (63.3%) reporting they would be extremely likely to use it.
  • Nearly two thirds of consumers (61.5%) report they would be ‘very likely’ to purchase more products through a website or app that offers a click or tap customer service help solution.

This report highlights there is significant opportunity for organisations to alleviate some of the frustrations consumers have when shopping online. The key conclusions highlighted include:

  • Consumers regularly experience issues when shopping online that often requires additional follow up with customer service via the contact centre or web chat. These issues can lead to a lost sale and potentially negative perceptions of the retailer. Therefore there is a real commercial opportunity to helping consumers connect more easily to customer service by providing technology that bridges the gap between the website/app and customer service more effectively.
  • Further, retailers should consider that online shoppers use a variety of devices. The online shopping experience, then, should be optimised across devices and screens to provide a streamlined path to assistance.


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Douglas said the initiative has increased the company's travel counsellor job satisfaction, improved their work-life balance, increased customer satisfaction and reduced overheads. "These are all great benefits, but truthfully, ones that we predicted and have been well-documented previously. The real surprises for us have been the noticeable increase in productivity and our ability to attract great talent."

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The route would be driven by inbound travel, with Dalian Wanda Group selling integrated flight and holiday packages to the Gold Coast.

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said China was an important tourism market for Australia.

"This new service opens up a direct link between South East Queensland and one of the largest travel markets in the world, delivering about 70,000 seats between China and the Gold Coast each year," he said.

The 9½-hour flights between the Gold Coast and Wuhan would operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

"We're expecting strong bookings throughout the week, as thousands of customers take the opportunity to travel to the sunny Gold Coast for a break during the long weekend," Mr Hall said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new service would provide seats for up to 35,000 passengers a year and add millions to the local economy.

"The new route represents an important aviation milestone for Queensland, marking the introduction of the first non-stop services from China into the Gold Coast," she said.

"Over two years the Wuhan-Gold Coast service has the potential to generate $53 million in visitor expenditure to the local economy, in turn supporting jobs and small business."

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said 60 per cent of all Chinese visitors to Queensland included the Gold Coast on their visit.

"City of Gold Coast has long recognised the opportunity of the Chinese market and working with Gold Coast Tourism has driven the push for direct flights," he said.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of a concerted campaign which will inject millions into the local economy and help create more local jobs."

Gold Coast Tourism chairman Paul Donovan said about 186,000 Chinese tourists visited the Gold Coast every year.

"China is Queensland's largest international market by visitor expenditure, with visitors spending $591 million in the year to September 2014," he said.

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Dr Catriona Wallace defines Customer Experience Strategy.


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