How online retailers can win with electronics and appliances
Electronics and appliances feature as one of the top three most popular categories of items that Australian consumers purchased online last year – superseded only by clothing and accessories, and on par with books and stationery. But as the market saturates with new and upcoming competitors, are online retailers of electronics and appliances doing enough to prevent a short circuit?
In the recently published report, The State of Shipping in Electronics & Appliances Commerce, Temando found that local retailers in this category were not necessarily meeting changing consumer expectations. To prevent your online store from blowing up, here are three things from the report you need to know:
- Shoppers over 55 are Australia’s leading consumer demographic for appliances and electronics.
- There is a wide gap between consumer expectations from their online purchases of appliances and electronics and what retailers offer.
- Most consumers would be willing to spend more online to qualify for free or express shipping options.
The power of the grey dollar
In 2015, British shoppers over 55 years old spent £14.5bn online, while one in four American mobile shoppers fall under the same age group. This trend is reflected in Australia, with the over 55s emerging as the biggest group to purchase electronics and appliances. With shoppers in this comparably affluent age group enjoying better financial conditions and benefits, such as the mature age worker tax offset, they’re well positioned to purchase big ticket items such as the latest ultra HD television or wireless Hi-Fi speakers system.
With this knowledge in mind, online retailers should consider how they could better address the needs of this demographic – be it in the type of marketing campaigns and promotions that they do, or the type of customer support and service that they offer to customers.
Consumer expectation gap
Blame Amazon if you may, but online shoppers have now grown accustomed to shorter delivery time frames, and there’s little to no excuse for tardy deliveries. In the electronics and appliances category, the gap in expectations for ‘express shipping’ (1 to 3 days) is not so disparate between retailers and consumers, at 85 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.
However, shoppers are dramatically let down when it comes to ‘hyperlocal delivery’ (1 to 3 hours), with only 5 per cent of retailers in this category offering it, versus 63 per cent of shoppers who want it. This disparity is seen again when it comes to ‘after hours/weekend delivery’, with only 5 per cent of retailers offering this option versus 75 per cent of shoppers who want it.
This consumer expectation gap is seen also in the failure to offer shoppers a better way to track their deliveries. Over 90 per cent of consumers want to have visibility of their expected shipping date, and consistent email communications throughout the shipping process, yet less than half of Australian online retailers in the electronics and appliances category are able to offer these services.
Shipping as a marketing tactic
With shipping being a core element of online shopping, online retailers have the opportunity to use it as a marketing tactic to increase sales and build better customer relationships. Out of the 985 Australian shoppers that Temando polled for the report, almost two thirds were willing to buy more to meet a threshold that would qualify them for free express shipping, while over a third would do the same for hyperlocal/same day delivery.
With an above average percentage of Australian retailers in the electronics and appliances category attributing over half of their total retail sales to the online channel, getting shipping right can really kick your business up a gear. Including shipping options, as offered currently by 57 per cent of local retailers in this category, has provided almost two thirds of retailers with a reduction in abandoned carts.
Above all else, increasing shopping options have enabled 72 per cent of Australian electronic and appliances retailers to meet customer expectations – which would contribute to building customer loyalty, increasing positive customer reviews, and growing word of mouth recommendations. So don’t let your antiquated approach to shipping throw a spanner in the works – your largest demographic may be heading towards the golden years, but your shipping strategy should be as nimble and agile as the newest e-commerce site out there.