The e-commerce market has seen a rapidly changing landscape over the past few years following the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw an increasing number of consumers turning to online shopping and many retailers setting up e-commerce operations to support sales lost due to the global quarantine. Following the removal of lockdown restrictions, online shopping was a convenient and efficient way to purchase goods and services. Advancements in technology and changes in business models have also supported growth, as has consumer behaviour.
Below, we will explore how this consumer behaviour has influenced the e-commerce market and what retailers can do to adapt to these changes.
What is consumer behaviour?
Consumer behaviour refers to individuals’ actions and decisions when purchasing goods and services. In the context of e-commerce, consumer behaviour encompasses a wide range of factors, including how they search for products, pricing, carrier services, preferred payment methods, sustainability and interaction with online retailers. Sustainability and the factors influencing this behaviour include personal preferences, marketing tactics, and social influence.
What influences consumer behaviour change?
Several factors can cause changes in e-commerce consumer behaviour, including:
- Technological advancements: As technology evolves, it can change how consumers shop online. For example, the rise of mobile devices has made it easier for consumers to shop on the go, leading to increased mobile commerce1.
- Economic factors: Changes in the economy can impact consumer behaviour. For example, during a recession, consumers may be more price-sensitive and search for deals and discounts2.
- Social Media: Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are becoming increasingly popular for product discovery. Consumers often come across new products on their feeds, prompting them to explore further and make an impulse purchase.
- Social influences: Influencers on social media significantly impact consumer behaviour as consumers often trust their recommendations and are, therefore, more likely to make a purchase3.
- Payment Service providers like Klarna, Clear Pay, and Paypal credit are examples of how consumers can shop without an immediate need to pay the full amount upfront. These services provide options for payment instalment plans or credit-based purchases, allowing customers to buy items and pay for them later in easier-to-manage instalments or within a specific time frame, easing the financial burden of larger purchases and therefore improving the likelihood of a customer making a purchase they may not have been able to afford before the rise of these payment service providers.
Key e-commerce trends and ways retailers can adapt
Some consumer behaviour trends in e-commerce include:
- Personalisation: Consumers increasingly seek personalised shopping experiences with customised recommendations, personalised product offerings, and tailored marketing messages. According to a survey by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalised experiences4. Furthermore, a study by Accenture found that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognise, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations5. Retailers can drive more revenue by delivering a targeted, smoother shopping experience.
- Social media shopping: 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media referral. This growing trend demonstrates how social media platforms are increasingly becoming popular channels for discovering and purchasing products in the realm of e-commerce6.
- Sustainability: Consumers are more conscious about their purchases’ environmental impact and seek out eco-friendly products. A survey by Nielsen showed that 81% of global consumers feel strongly that retailers should help improve the environment7. The same study found that 73% of global consumers would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. A study by Accenture found that 60% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products that are environmentally friendly8.
- Convenience: Consumers value convenience when shopping and expect a fast and reliable delivery along with an easy Returns option, ideally free; however, recently, we have seen more and more Retailers charge for this service. A study by Metapack found that 96% of consumers consider delivery speed an important factor when making an online purchase due to its convenience, and 61% have abandoned a purchase due to slow delivery times9.
- Access to omnichannel shopping: Consumers today have access to a variety of technological options, which allow customers to seamlessly shop across various channels, be it online or in brick-and-mortar stores like Zara or H&M. They expect to see their favourite brands on the channels they frequent, allowing for heightened convenience and a seamless shopping experience without having to leave their trusted digital spaces10.
How to successfully meet current consumer expectations
To compete in the fast-paced e-commerce market, a collaboration with a strong logistics provider that develops innovative solutions and works with retailers to grow, enhance and expand the services is key to ensuring both parties cater to the ever-evolving needs of consumers.
Unipart Logistics, as a partner, can offer the following benefits and more:
- Leveraging technology: By collaborating with Unipart Logistics, retailers gain access to technology and expertise in creating solutions that meet the unique needs of their customers. Businesses can integrate their e-commerce platforms with Unipart’s plug-and-play logistics software solution to enable real-time tracking of orders and shipments, predictive analytics, and advanced warehouse management solutions for faster and more efficient delivery and returns.
- Streamline logistics operations: Retailers can collaborate with Unipart Logistics to streamline their logistics operations via transformational change projects and continuous improvement. Regularly reviewing inventory management, operational processes and carriers can help retailers reduce costs whilst improving customer satisfaction. Unipart Logistics can also manage the entirety of a retailer’s end-to-end supply chain as a Lead Logistics Partner, from sourcing and procurement to warehousing and logistics. This allows retailers to focus on core business functions like product development, marketing and sales.
- Adding value to logistics solutions: Retailers can take advantage of Unipart’s broad range of value-adding solutions that cater to evolving consumer needs. For example, Unipart can offer late cut-off times for next-day deliveries, parcel lockers, and sustainable shipping and packaging solutions that cater to the growing demand for faster and more sustainable delivery options. Furthermore, Unipart can customise solutions specific to the target customer and product, from personalising the product through embroidery or etching to fraud prevention tags.
- Transport Operations – Unipart’s full visibility transport operations and carrier management solution allows real-time visibility into the transportation process, enabling businesses to efficiently track shipments, manage logistics and optimise carrier performance. This ensures control and efficient carrier management for businesses.
- Dedicated Customer Engagement Managers collaborate with you in developing best-in-class supply chains. These managers ensure a personalised approach, offering expert guidance and support throughout the process to achieve the best possible outcomes for your supply chain operations.
Retailers can quickly adapt to meet this changing consumer landscape by working with an agile and experienced logistics partner. Talk to us about ways we’ve adapted our service solutions to reflect customer demands to be convenient, fast and greener.
To find out more about how Unipart Logistics adapts its logistics solutions to meet the changing behaviours of e-commerce consumers, contact:
Emma Voss, (email@example.com)
1 Insider Intelligence, ‘Rise of Mcommerce: Mobile Ecommerce Shopping Stats & Trends in 2023’, Jan 2023 ; BigCommerce, ‘Breaking Down M-Commerce: Statistics, Trends and What to Expect as E-commerce Goes Mobile