In times when everyone can sell goods anywhere and the competitive pressure is enormous, it is increasingly important (globally) to understand what is important. Asendia did a very interesting and representative survey with 8,000 study participants around the world. The survey was conducted at executive level in the e-commerce, tech & IT and logistics sectors in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Spain.
This considers three topics:
1. What does the customer think? What does he value?
2. What do the dealers think and what do they do to meet the different wishes of the customer?
3. Social media and the future of commerce
In the first part , let’s deal with the customer first: An important result is that, despite difficult times, customers do not only see the price as a decisive factor in their purchasing decisions. Rather, other factors play a role that retailers and brands should take into account in order to win customers over.
- First off , 68.9% of respondents said they would reduce their spending in 2023 . But where do you save? Although price usually plays a crucial role in purchasing decisions during difficult times, the study shows that it is just one of many factors. This insight is of great importance for retailers and brands as they need to consider both objective and subjective factors in order to win over customers. The main factors considered when choosing products are : 55% of respondents pay particular attention to price, 54% to value for money, 50% to quality and 43% to shipping costs.There are some differences in priorities around the world: In Canada, price emerged as the most important factor, with 68% of respondents saying it was a priority when making their purchasing decisions. Conversely, Hong Kong price was less significant (44%). Likewise, value for money played a much smaller role in Hong Kong (41%) compared to Spain(61%). This also applies to shipping costs: only 35% of respondents in Hong Kong said they thought about it, compared to 54% in Canada. It is interesting to note that these main factors can be observed in principle in all countries. However, there are differences between the generations: The younger Generation Z attaches less importance to free shipping (24%) compared to the older Generation Silent (49%) and also searches less intensively for the best offers (25% compared to 37%). .
- The study also emphasizes the importance of authenticity when choosing online shops. Authenticity includes the perception of a brand by the customer and forms the basis for a trusting customer relationship. This is where sustainability plays a role, especially with regard to environmental awareness and initiatives in the areas of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Authenticity can vary depending on the definition, but shares some common characteristics. The central question here is whether the brand is sincere and honest with itself, its customers and the world. That trust is lost as soon as the buyer feels that the brand might be pretending or acting dishonestly. The study found that in Hong Kong, 75% of respondents said they only shop from retailers and brands they perceive to be authentic. In Switzerland, this figure was 52%. Likewise, in Hong Kong, 85% of respondents said they would be more likely to shop from retailers and brands that have a perceived authenticity, compared to just 63% in Switzerland. 83% of Hong Kong respondents said they are more loyal to retailers and brands they perceive as authentic, compared to 62% in Switzerland. Also, in Hong Kong, 80% were willing to spend more money on brands they perceive as authentic, compared to just 52% in Switzerland.If a brand or retailer was not perceived as authentic, 76% of respondents in Hong Kong said they would be less likely to shop there in the future, compared to 55% in Switzerland. In Hong Kong, 73% were more willing to switch to a competitor if they felt a brand or retailer was inauthentic. Finally, 62% of Hong Kong respondents said they were less critical of inflation-related price increases and would continue to shop from brands they perceive as authentic, compared to 40% in Switzerland. Participants were asked how brands and retailers could make their shopping experience even more authentic.The top customer requirement (58%) was transparency in delivering on promises, while avoiding greenwashing and clear ESG policies were less important to them (both 25%). Incidentally, IKEA is perceived as the most authentic brand (41%) in several countries.
- Another finding of the study relates to the international purchasing behavior of customers. When ordering internationally, 33% of respondents said they want to know where their package is coming from to understand cost and distance. In addition, 32% prefer collective delivery to reduce packaging waste. (This factor will probably increase significantly for all global entrepreneurs as sustainability becomes more and more important.)