SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 46, November 15, 2012

How to Deliver the Goods to Your Online Customers

SEMA News—October 2012

BUSINESS
By Kristin DeBates

Rev Up Your Online Customer Experience With Logistics

How to Deliver the Goods to Online Shoppers

  A recent study by comScore revealed new insights into the consumer online shopping experience.
A recent study by comScore revealed new insights into the consumer
online shopping experience. Commissioned by UPS, the comScore study
polled more than 3,100 online shoppers and evaluated consumer
perceptions and shopping habits ranging from pre-purchase to delivery
and even the returns process.
   

The online retail market for automotive parts and accessories continues
to emerge as a tremendous growth opportunity for the aftermarket parts
industry. While appraisals of sales volumes within the online auto parts
industry vary, estimates range from $1.8 billion to $4 billion
annually.

The recent 2012 SEMA Annual Market Report
found that consumers (46.2%) cited chain auto parts stores and
specialty parts stores as their primary outlets for purchasing
automotive parts and accessories; however, online retail was the next
highest outlet, with 24.5% of respondents reporting that they primarily
purchased automotive parts from online retailers. The online retailers
ranged from online auction sites and chain auto parts online stores to
online-only retailers.

It is clear that the popularity and potential for online retailing of
automotive parts serves as a growth opportunity for the industry. Taking
advantage of this opportunity will require automotive suppliers and
retailers to look at the customer experience in a new way—from the
perspective of an online shopper.

A recent study by comScore revealed new insights into the consumer
online shopping experience. Commissioned by UPS, the comScore study
polled more than 3,100 online shoppers and evaluated consumer
perceptions and shopping habits ranging from pre-purchase to delivery
and even the returns process. Ultimately, the survey found that the
ability to control deliveries and having increased visibility were the
most important factors driving today’s online shoppers. Following are
highlights of top study findings and advice for automotive parts
suppliers on strategies to address online customer expectations.

Options, Options and More Options

One of the keys to success with online shoppers is to provide them with a
variety of delivery options to meet their needs. The comScore Online
Customer Experience study found that while 67% of shoppers preferred the
most economical delivery option, the majority of respondents also
desired the option to speed up shipments in urgent scenarios, such as
the need for a crucial part. Long delivery lead times also can be a
major deterrent for online shoppers. The study found that 80% of online
shoppers reported recently abandoning their online shopping carts, and
78% of those respondents cited the specified delivery time or a delivery
time of more than five days as their reason for cart abandonment.

In order to address online customers’ preferences for delivery date
options, look for shipping partners that offer a number of flexible
shipping options, ranging from premium express delivery to more
economical options, such as ground delivery. The more shipping options
made available to online customers, the more likely they are to follow
through with their online purchases.

  A recent study by comScore revealed new insights into the consumer online shopping experience.
   

Communication Is Key

Similar to providing online shoppers with multiple delivery options,
retailers should be aware that shoppers want to know the details
regarding their delivery date prior to making an online purchase.
Providing online customers with an accurate delivery date from the
beginning can further ensure that customer expectations are being met.
Additionally, 46% of survey respondents said that receiving a product
when expected led them to recommend an online retailer.

Online shoppers not only want to know when they will receive a package,
but also want to use technology to stay on top of their delivery. Of the
online shoppers surveyed, 39% said that receiving an e-mail or text
delivery alert was the most convenient form of notification.

There are a number of tools available to assist online retailers with
these customer preferences for increased communication and visibility.
These tools range from enabling retailers to place package tracking
capabilities directly on their websites to solutions that help retailers
proactively alert customers of their delivery via e-mail or text.

Read this story in its entirety in the October 2012 issue of SEMA News


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