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The Key to Winning Online Shoppers: Flexibility

Sales take a hit when frustrated customers have problems in the purchasing process . / Credit: Abandoned shopping cart image via Shutterstock

Consumers are looking for a little more convenience in their online shopping experience, new research shows.

A study by comScore Inc. and UPS revealed that when it comes to shopping online, customers want more choices, more control over when their purchases will be delivered and a convenient returns process. Specifically, nearly half of consumers are more likely to purchase an item at a retailer if they are able to buy the item online and pick it up in the store, with 62 percent wanting the ability to buy online and return items to a store.

The research found that consumer-friendly shipping and return policies are key enticers for many shoppers.

Three-quarters of those surveyed have bought additional items just so they could qualify for free shipping, while 82 percent would be more likely to complete a purchase if they could return the item to a store, or have free return shipping. Additionally, 67 percent would shop more frequently at a retailer that offered those perks, and 64 percent would recommend that type of retailer to a friend.

"As consumers move more of their shopping online and gain exposure to a variety of purchasing experiences, their expectations for retailers continues to grow," said Alan Gershenhorn, UPS’ chief sales and marketing officer. "Now consumers can shop from anywhere, at any time, and are looking for online retailers to have an integrated and robust set of options, as the customer experience no longer ends at checkout."

The study discovered how mobile and social outlets are changing the way consumers shop. Nearly half of those surveyed said they are less likely to comparison-shop when using a retailer's mobile app, and 47 percent said they wish retailers would send coupons to their smartphone when they are in-store or nearby.

"Consumers have a growing number of digital touch points, with more ways to stay connected with their favorite online retailers through every phase of the shopping, buying and fulfillment process," said Susan Engleson, comScore senior director. "What will set apart one retailer from another in a competitive marketplace is how well they meet the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of customers."

The study was based on surveys of more than 3,000 U.S. online shoppers.

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook& Google+. This story originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

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