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Thriving in a World of Zero Tolerance Shoppers

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The world of retail is full of choice, but caution remains as shoppers continually make decisions about which retailers they want to do business with. Every time they do, they’re reminded of the age-old question: “Who can you trust?”

Retail is changing. And while we’ve seen dramatic shifts in seller and buyer behavior, it’s clear that this transformation is only just beginning. Ecommerce has become just commerce. Omnichannel shopping has become just shopping. For shoppers, there is an expectation that they should be able to buy anything, at any time and through any channel.

The power of ecommerce allows shoppers to switch without so much as a thought between the most known brands in the world to businesses that are born of the digital age.

Of course, these changes have not just changed the face of retail. They have also changed how consumers relate to retailers. Here, Signifyd’s survey explores consumer sentiment in the midst of the retail reinvention.

What are zero-tolerance shoppers?

In the era of mobile shopping, personalized experiences and quick delivery, it’s more than customer expectations that are on the rise. Their belief that it is the retail brand’s responsibility when something goes wrong has increased too, no matter how many vendors touch their experience from the time they start their shopping search to the time they are reaching out for post-purchase support.

Retailers must exceed those expectations to thrive, giving substantial pay-off for consumer’s heightened experience. But in a world where social media can destroy a brand overnight, the dangers associated with business as usual can be precarious.

Our survey reveals the high expectations of consumers, for merchants at every level of the food chain. These high expectations and the attitude that the buck stops with the retailer have a special significance in an era of digitally native retailers and merchants who are taking market share from legacy retailers. Meanwhile, legacy retailers are focusing on making a digital transformation that will keep them competitive with the upstarts and Amazon.

The competitive playing field has been leveled. It doesn’t matter how large or small a retailer is. Every order and any corresponding communication and engagement with the retailer comes with heightened expectations—and the first job for retailers is exemplary execution.

How many chances do you get?

We asked consumers: “How many times would they tolerate a negative experience and stay loyal to an online retailer?” The answer? Not many. After a single negative experience, it was found that 14.6 percent of people wouldn’t give a retailer another chance. These are your true zero-tolerance customers. After this, 38.2 percent would tolerate one negative experience, and 38.4 percent would only tolerate two negative experiences.

However, if you’re prone to mistakes, unfortunately only 8.9 percent of customers would tolerate three or more negative experiences.

But what could be souring the relationship between merchants and consumers so much that a majority of people would only tolerate one or less negative experiences? Surely, it would have to be something bad. Not necessarily, as our survey found.

The surprising negatives

If you think that you’re immune to creating negative experiences, we’ve got some bad news for you. As it turns out, the negative shopping experiences which deter returning customers are fairly surprising. In this sense, some shopping experiences that you may consider as standard practice in the online world are actually making it more difficult for your customers to shop and engage in retail loyalty.

We asked consumers: “Regardless of if it’s happened to you or not, which one of the following might be a reason why you wouldn’t shop at a specific online retailer again?” The results may shock you.

Some reasons why customers would not return to an online retailer include:

  • Being declined a purchase by a retailer when there wasn’t a problem—57.6 percent
  • Being directed to another site for credit card verification—41.7 percent
  • Receiving your purchase after the expected delivery window—38.1 percent
  • Not allowed to deliver to an alternative address (not the one associated with the account)—36.1 percent
  • Multiple steps to verify your identity—30.6 percent
  • Requirements to create or log in to a retailer account—28.5 percent

Some responses are unsurprising, such as receiving your purchase after the expected delivery window. However, you’ll likely find some of these ideas as the standard on many online retail websites. How often have you had to experience multiple steps to verify your identity or been forced to log in or create a retailer account?

One thing is clear: Customers are emphatic in letting you know what they’ll stand for when shopping at your online store.

The solution

It’s clear that zero-tolerance shoppers are a little ruthless in their approaches to shopping online. Aspects that you may have considered standard practice as online retailers are now negative experiences and making just one of them could destroy a customer relationship in an instant. However, the solution is simple: Make more positive customer experiences.

Consumers are clear about what they won’t tolerate, so how do we avoid these obstacles? Efficiency, support and selection are key.

Our survey found that 40.9 percent of consumers would expect a confirmation of their order after purchasing online within minutes. In fact, only 8.5 percent of people would allow longer than a day for confirmation.

Meanwhile, 20 percent of people do not shop with online retailers after a late delivery of an online order. And at 36 percent, even more shoppers have not returned to a retailer after they had been declined for fraud for no apparent reason.

Retailers must follow these essential rules to avoid this:

  • Avoid building walls between you and your customers due to fear.
  • Don’t treat your customers with suspicion. Treat them like celebrities.
  • Make in-store pick-up a centerpiece of your omnichannel strategy.
  • Be proactive when circumstances mean promises can’t be kept.

Retailers are increasingly trusting end-to-end commerce protection platforms, such as Signifyd, to help them ensure that positive customer experiences are created. Powered by the Signifyd Commerce Network of thousands of merchants selling to more than 250 million consumers worldwide, its advanced machine learning engine can protect merchants from fraud, consumer abuse and revenue loss caused by barriers and friction in the buying experience.

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