ONLINE SHOPPERS in Asia Pacific are likely to be discouraged by high delivery fees, to the extent that they will readily consider slower, cheaper alternatives, sometimes if offered the proper incentives, United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) said, citing the results of a study.

Citing the “UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper” report, which surveyed 18,000 consumers around the world between December 2018 to January 2019, UPS said 39% of online shoppers in the Asia Pacific abandon their shopping carts when they find that the cost of delivery is higher than expected.

“The research reveals that 95% of consumers in Asia Pacific can be incentivised in some way to look for alternatives to the fastest shipping option, which can help to bring down shipping costs,” it said.

“For example, 47% of shoppers are willing to go for a cheaper but slower alternative, 39% are open to receiving incentives for slower shipping, such as credit in their account with the retailer, and 37% are willing to delay shipping to consolidate multiple items into one delivery,” it added.

The report noted that much of the motivation for Asian shoppers in patronizing e-commerce platforms is the expectation that prices are cheaper online.

“In terms of why buyers choose to make purchases online as opposed to in-store, the key differentiator for respondents in Asia Pacific across all categories researched was also the perception of a better price online,” it said.

Convenience was another consideration, and the “ease of the e-commerce experience” was likewise seen as attracting demand.

“The ability to offer incentives not just in the form of a unique product offering but also in the shipping and delivery experience will be crucial to success in the evolving e-commerce landscape,” UPS Vice-President of Marketing in the Asia Pacific Sylvie Van den Kerkhof said in a statement.

The report showed shoppers from Asia are growing more particular about the ability to customize delivery times, dates and locations as some platforms start to offer this option.

It found that for online shoppers from Australia, China, Hong Kong and South Korea, almost all put high importance in seeing shipping prices, select alternative delivery options, determine delivery dates and time frames and have a guaranteed delivery date.

Shoppers are also more engaged in platforms that make as much information readily available and visible.

Next to information about the price, product details and delivery costs, Asian shoppers value knowing a seller’s place of origin and the details of its returns policy.

“The retailer’s returns policy is more important than some might think, with 69% of Asia Pacific shoppers agreeing that the returns experience impacts their overall perception of the business,” it said.

“The study reveals that 42% of consumers in Asia Pacific look up a retailer’s returns policy before even making a purchase, indicating that it’s an opportunity for the business to win over customers and ease the doubts of any potential buyers,” it added.

In the Philippines, UPS Managing Director Chris Buono said online shopping is expected to grow with improved Internet connectivity and increased smartphone use, as these will enable the industry to tap a new market of tech-savvy consumers.

“(These factors mean) the e-commerce landscape in the Philippines is becoming increasingly competitive, and this is unlocking new opportunities for online retailers in the Philippines to grow both their domestic and international customer base,” he was quoted in a statement as saying. — Denise A. Valdez