Customers Spooked by ‘Ghosting’ Retailers

Awards InternationalFebruary 27, 20183min0
Being ‘ghosted’ by retailers after making a purchase online is one of the biggest bugbears for UK customers, according to new research.

A survey of nearly 3,000 UK consumers by Narvar and YouGov found that ‘ghosting’ – seemingly being abandoned by a company or website following a sale – is a leading cause of customers switching retailers.

The study shows that retailers are failing to secure customer loyalty and retain existing buyers when they neglect to provide them with timely, accurate, and personal communication updates following a purchase.

Important updates include: fast and direct communications about their orders, accurately predicting the delivery date, and being told any bad news – such as delays – straight away.

These kinds of interactions were even more important to consumers than not having an option for home delivery, click and collect, or in-store returns. As it costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, these findings have significant implications for retailers and their post-purchase customer strategy.

Consumer pet hates

Meanwhile, consumers don’t like to be left in the dark – not getting clear or accurate information about the status of an order is the number one consumer bugbear when shopping online, with a fifth of respondents choosing this as their top annoyance. Other findings include:

Millennials aged up to 24 are the group most likely to be irritated by a lack of communications in this way (25%)
Poor communications from the retailer, like failure to communicate proactively around bad news like a late delivery, would put off 65% of consumers from buying with that retailer again
A third would not use a retailer again if they failed to give any follow-up after a purchase, such as accurate order tracking or how-to guides.
Having a bad delivery experience was another key reason why customers would switch retailers, showing the importance of the experience beyond the buy button

What the consumer wants

Managing expectations is important. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding about being kept in the loop by retailers: 61 percent said they want fast and direct communications following a purchase, even if it’s about bad news, with this being most important to millennials and the over-55s.

One-in-ten consumers wanted to see follow-up content such as examples of how others are using the products, suggestions for how to make best use of items, and personalised recommendations to really secure their loyalty. One-in-five would love just a simple “thank you”.

Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar, said:

“These findings really highlight that the eCommerce journey does not just stop when a customer clicks the buy button. Retailers who fail to appreciate the importance of the post-purchase experience are missing out on really developing a loyal customer base and the financial benefits that go along with that.”

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