Above: Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour
Value for money is the number one driver for online shoppers, according to a survey of 10,000 Australians conducted by Australia Post.
Paul Fanthorpe, Australia Post’s general manager of customer research and insights, presented findings from the research during a session at the Online Retail Conference and eCommerce Expo in Sydney on Thursday.
Australia Post asked consumers to describe how they shop and what they liked, how much they liked to spend, attitudes to delivery and returns, and their favourite websites, in what Fanthorpe said is the largest online shopping survey in the country.
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The survey found apparel is the fastest growing online shopping category in Australia, as well as being the largest online category, with $4.8 billion spent annually in Australia.
It also found Australia’s top four online shopping websites are Target, Myer, Big W and Asos.
Fanthorpe said value for money, which included price and consideration of time, came out as the number one driver for online shoppers, followed by ease of use and convenience.
“Value for money is the overwhelming aspect,” he told the audience.
The research found the top reasons why Australians shop online include cheaper prices and free shipping, with 26% of shoppers saying the price they pay online is cheaper and 24% saying free shipping is why they shop online.
Fanthorpe told SmartCompany small online businesses should consider offering free shipping and a choice of delivery, because express delivery isn’t always necessary.
“Most people don’t want it quickly,” he says.
“Free shipping has been increasingly prevalent in the past few years, some retailers are doing it well.”
Fanthorpe says it is also worth retailers offering free returns, even if Australians are not big on it.
“Forty per cent of Australians profess to have never returned anything online,” he says.
But he encourages smaller online retailers not to underestimate the value of returns because others were not doing it.
“Free delivery and free returns instantly says confidence about the product, instantly says confidence about the brand,” Fanthorpe says.
Fanthorpe’s top tips for retailers are:
- Free shipping: Offer free shipping if you can afford it
- Need for speed: people not necessarily prepared to play for express, but want it as an option of it. Most customers don’t want weekend delivery.
- Returns: offer a returns policy if you can.
- Value add: Consider offering content such as how-to guides
- Tell your customers what’s new
SmartCompany attended the Online Retail Conference as a guest of Australia Post.