It turns out Aussie consumers have a problem with commitment… or at least a greater tendency than their peers overseas to abandon virtual shopping carts. Almost sixty per cent (57) are discarding their carts sometimes or all the time, particularly in the product categories of fashion (67 per cent) and furniture (65 per cent), according to findings from the SAP Consumer Propensity Study.

Scott Treller, executive general manager for SAP Customer Experience ANZ says that level of abandonment is significantly higher than the experience of US or UK retailers.

He told Which-50,”European and North American shoppers are ditching online shopping carts much less frequently (41 per cent and 47 per cent respectively) than those in Australia.”

Treller said this indicates that supply chain and logistics continues to be a challenge for Australians, with many abandoning their carts due to high shipping costs, out of stock items or longer than expected delivery times.

 “There is a huge opportunity for those Australian retailers who can remove the friction in the customer journey by improving visibility and transparency of its business processes and connecting that to the digital experience of their customers. This will ensure that stock availability, shipping costs and delivery times are in line with customer expectations.”

Scott Treller, executive general manager for SAP Customer Experience ANZ

When SAP conducted the study last year its report focused on how retailers used data to personalise customer experiences. One of the key findings then was that more than three quarters of Australian consumers said they would not purchase from a brand again if their data was used without their knowledge.

“This year, we took a closer look at cart abandonment and what might be encouraging consumers to make a purchase, or abandon their carts completely. What is most interesting about looking at these topics side by side is that personalisation remains paramount to creating positive customer experiences and ultimately drives loyalty and sales,” said Treller.

Organisations should use the data they have throughout the buying journey to deliver personal, and engaging experiences, an approach which would enable them to progressively learn about their customers in a way that’s respectful of their privacy, he said.

According to Treller, “A great example of an international company who is doing personalisation in retail really well is Adidas. It is using machine learning to co-create a supply chain with customers to deliver really personalised experiences. It is co-innovating with its customers as part of its ‘speed factory’ and using SAP technology to create personalised shoes that are delivered to customers within 24 hours.”

He also noted that Adidas studies the whole customer journey to create hyper-personalised experiences that are based on data and intelligence,  saying such an approach bridges “the functionality of supply chains and logistics with delightful and engaging consumer experiences that are distinctly personal”.

The research found that Australians are also price-savvy, with 60 per cent of Australian consumers abandoning their shopping chart due to shipping costs and 46 per cent using online carts as a way to compare prices with other brands and websites.

That pointed to the way forward for retailers looking for early wins, according to Treller. “Our research showed that consumers identified easy exchange and return services (57 per cent) as one of the biggest demands from brands, followed by comparison tools to check prices and specifications (51 per cent) and a physical store where they can try and buy (42 per cent). These requests ranked higher than chatbots or 24/7 customer service (34 per cent) and virtual/augmented reality technologies (33 per cent).”

When looking at these results in combination with the reasons for shopping cart abandonment, the findings show that customers want the basics done right, he said.

The global survey, which included 1000 Australian participants, asked online consumers about their shopping preferences and motivation to complete a purchase. The results revealed that while prices are the main driver, with 53 per cent of Australian consumers indicating that discounts and promotions succeed in nudging them to complete a purchase, they also want a personalised shopping experience.

Source: SAP Consumer Propensity Study

Just under a third (32 per cent) are encouraged to buy when multiple purchase deals are offered, and 31 per cent are motivated when the retailer provides quick responses to their queries on the item.

More than price

Price is not the only deciding factor, another driver of cart abandonment is stock availability. Almost a third (32 per cent) of consumers give up on their carts due to out-of-stock items, and 29 per cent don’t purchase if they see longer than expected delivery times. The findings suggest retailers need to be conscious that their supply chain and logistics decisions can impact sales.

Jennifer Arnold, VP of Marketing, Asia Pacific Japan & Greater China, SAP Customer Experience

“Reviewing cart abandonment data provides a starting point for retailers to identify friction points in the consumer journey and make improvements to the overall purchasing experience,” said Jennifer Arnold, VP of Marketing, Asia Pacific Japan & Greater China, SAP Customer Experience.

“Consumer behaviour at the checkout stage, including items selected and discarded, navigation steps, time spent to complete specific actions, the precise point of abandonment, amongst other factors, provide valuable insight into ways the retailer can boost customer engagement and increase conversion.”

The SAP Consumer Propensity Study also revealed what Australian customers want from brands when shopping, with simple online shopping features and experiences winning out over new technologies.

The majority (57 per cent) of respondents identified easy exchange and return services as the biggest demand from consumers, followed by comparison tools to check prices and specifications (51 per cent) and a physical store where they can try and buy (42 per cent). These requests ranked higher than chatbots or 24/7 customer service (34 per cent) and virtual/augmented reality technologies (33 per cent).Arnold said, “The findings show that customers want the basics done right and are willing to move on to other brands if they aren’t receiving the best experience possible. Today’s customers are taking charge of the relationship they have with brands, and don’t think in terms of B2B or B2C, but ME2B.”

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