With even more Australians are turning to cross-border online shopping – this is now influencing their shipping expectations from domestic retailers. With online shopping to spike this holiday season, retailers need to double-down on the elements of the consumer experience that matter most.
Australian shoppers continue to lead the world when it comes to the percentage of shoppers who buy cross-border, however, the strong influence of shipping and delivery options is now changing the way Australians make online purchases domestically and from retailers around the world, according to a new report from Pitney Bowes.
Findings in the fourth annual Global Online Shopping Study reveals 82 percent of Australian shoppers revealed they prefer free shipping with a longer delivery time, as opposed to shipping at a cost with shorter delivery time (18 percent).
The study identified the top three reasons for Australians shopping online cross-border were price (64 percent), selection (42 percent) and quality (24 percent). Within the last year, 88 percent of Australians purchased products from retailers in a different country within the last year, which is equal to Hong Kong and almost double the percentage of United States shoppers (47 percent).
According to the study, Australians are turning to online shopping after disappointing experiences with bricks and mortar stores – 72 percent of Australian shoppers who took the survey said they were unable to find a product while shopping in-store, with 19 percent of shoppers then ordering the item online at home and 21 percent turning to an alternative retailer or online retailer.
While many Australians are shopping online, 40 percent of those who partook in the study have experienced challenges with their online orders during the holidays. Top challenges with online orders in Australia included shipping tracking inaccuracies, which rose to 12 percent from 7 percent last year; and having items shipped to the wrong address or lost in mail which doubled to 8 percent, from 4 percent last year.
“Australian shoppers have an entire global marketplace at their fingertips. The demand for a seamless customer experiences means customers expect that there is always a way to get the product they want, shipped wherever they want, whenever they want it. This creates both opportunities and challenges for retailers,” says Lila Snyder, executive vice president of global e-commerce and presort services at Pitney Bowes. “With even more purchases expected to be online this holiday shopping season, retailers need to double-down on the elements of the consumer experience that matter most – delivery, returns, tracking and world-class customer service.”
A snapshot of other key Australian retail trends is outlined below.
How Australian customers research and shopping is changing
Australian shoppers are turning to marketplaces more frequently. This year, 52 percent of Australians polled looked at a marketplace for research compared to only 41 percent last year. And, 50 percent say they look at retail websites directly for new products, down 2 percent from last year.
When it comes to buying online, domestic retailers still dominate in Australia – 55 percent of purchases were made directly from retailers and 45 percent from marketplaces, a 3 percentage point increase for marketplaces over last year.
Paul Greenberg, the founder of the NORA says local retailers need this kind of data to strengthen their global brand. “The Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study shows the tremendous opportunity ahead for Australian retailers looking to embrace global shoppers,” said Greenberg. “Australian retailers need to go global. The opportunity is here and now, and so are the increasingly valuable shipping solutions needed to be successful.”
Shipping and delivery options are critical to online shoppers
While the majority of shoppers said they prefer free shipping to fast delivery, 64 percent of Australian online shoppers are using click and collect-ordering online and picking up in-store. Nearly half of Australians (48 percent) have their purchases shipped to a location other than their home, such as a workplace or parcel locker. Even during cross-border transactions, Australians are encouraged to buy from retailers who offer tracking of purchases and packages (42 percent) and local delivery options (32 percent).
All of this shopping is fuelling a boom in global parcel volumes according to the latest Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index. Parcel volumes in Australia grew by 13 percent from 2015-2016 YOY and it is projected that the Australian parcel market will grow to more than 1 billion parcels a year in 2021. That’s estimated growth of between 9 percent and 12 percent from 2017 to 2021 (compound annual growth rate).
About the Global Shopping Study
The 2017 Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study surveyed approximately 12,000 adults across 12 countries to gain deeper insight on consumers’ perceptions, habits and preferences for making online purchases from retailers in and outside of their own country.