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Shipping Costs, Return Policies Loom Even Larger for Retailers

Survey details importance of optimizing pre- and post-purchase experiences.

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Merchants need to provide a phenomenal buying experience, from start to finish, to score with today’s consumers. That’s the central conclusion of “Protect Your Growth Strategy: The 2023 Consumer and Merchant Benchmark Report,” a global study conducted by shipping/fulfillment software provider Auctane and independent consultancy Retail Economics.

“This year, consumers have become more price conscious, and therefore selective with their shopping decisions,” said Sudha Chandrasekharan, Senior VP and Global General Manager of Auctane’s ShipStation unit.

Based on that premise, the report shows merchants the value of optimizing the pre- and post-purchase experience in order to grow amid unstable market conditions.

Key findings include:

* Cost will be the top driver of shoppers’ decision-making in 2023.

* Consumers increasingly prefer free over fast deliveries.

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* The customer experience doesn’t stop at checkout.

* Merchants need to optimize their operations.

The report’s conclusions are based on economic modeling and data-driven insights developed from a nationally representative consumer panel survey conducted in November 2022 and involving more than 8000 households across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The report also contains supplemental research from a survey of 1000 U.S. consumers in early February, and input from a survey of more than 300 U.S. merchants done in late January.

Click here for the full report.

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