Research from GetApp reveals the effects of the pandemic have resulted in 33% shoppers in New Zealand making more eCommerce purchases and fewer in–store. However, it appears this shift is not only driven by COVID-19, as 43% of Kiwi shoppers confirm they are happy to do more of their Christmas shopping online this festive season, due to the added convenience it provides.
To give brands a greater understanding of the trends currently driving online sales, GetApp surveyed 1,013 shoppers. The survey highlights new insight into how the pandemic is altering the way Kiwis will shop this Christmas season—a full methodology is available at the bottom of the article.
Fashion, apparels and accessories are the most popular online sales
For retailers, it helps to understand which product categories are in highest demand. To find this out, we asked consumers what they have been buying online since the pandemic began.
While it is important to know what inventory to stock to satisfy demand, it is also handy to have insight into how your customers like to interact with brands, particularly their preferred online shopping platforms. The survey shows a diverse range of shopper preferences across both desktop and mobile.
Avoiding large in-store crowds is the most pressing reason for the transition to eCommerce
Meeting customer expectations is an important step in retaining loyalty and making sales. Offering multiple fulfilment options to suit customers’ needs can be an incentive for them to invest in your brand as a regular customer.
Shoppers like to have the option to choose from click-and-collect, pick-up point delivery or home delivery. Since the start of the pandemic, over half of Kiwi shoppers (53%) are using online delivery services one to two times a week. And the research suggests COVID-19 has been a major reason for doing so, as more than half (51%) say the main incentive has been to avoid large crowds in-store.
In-store and pick-up point delivery are also seeing frequent use since COVID-19, with 48% relying on these services as often as one to two times a week. When shoppers were asked if they would still be using in-store or pick-up point delivery after the COVID crisis is resolved, the majority confirmed that they would.
The convenience and flexibility of choosing a pick-up time was the biggest selling point for Kiwi shoppers using these services, with 57% of customers ranking it amongst their top reasons for doing so.
High delivery cost in New Zealand is the biggest challenge for online shoppers
Though many Kiwis are happy about the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping, the transition hasn’t been free of challenges. Shoppers reported a range of hurdles to a seamless online shopping experience, the most common being high delivery costs, cited by 65% of those surveyed.
It is likely these high delivery costs have influenced more shoppers to select click and collect over home delivery. Nearly 45% of respondents relied moderately on in-store pick-ups during the pandemic, and 17% used these services exclusively. It is important to note that a steady 39% of shoppers surveyed revealed no change to their shopping habits: They are still visiting the same retailers as prior to COVID-19, without relying on in-store, pick-up point delivery or online delivery.
Optimising your eCommerce strategy to meet consumer expectations
Kiwi customers want to see a greater focus on the basics that enable seamless shopping experiences online. This includes faster webpage load speeds, real-time stock checking and a smoother checkout process. These changes would have a positive effect according to almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents. This reflects a desire for change in current eCommerce infrastructure, and focus on finding smart solutions to this customer need.
A significant number (31%) also believe that next-generation functionality, such as virtual changing rooms, would be an improvement. Investment in this kind of innovation could be a differentiating factor to beat the competition in a saturated market.
Ethical considerations driving shopper behaviour
Another important factor to note about Kiwi customers is their levels of consciousness regarding responsible shopping and sustainability. 52% of customers are happy to wait longer for their online orders if it is guaranteed products are both sourced and delivered sustainably. This is a significant concession given that delays in delivery time are also highlighted as a major pain point by 61% of respondents.
New ethical brand directory, fair&good, confirms this shift toward more conscious consumerism in New Zealand, revealing that 57% of Kiwis believe a company’s ethics are important when deciding where to spend their money. Moving forward, these trends suggest there will be an advantage for brands investing in ethical and sustainable operations.
From technical tweaks to ethical enhancements, it is increasingly important brands get the optimisation of their platform right. As GetApp’s research shows, consumers are more open to purchasing from new outlets than they were pre-COVID-19. Nearly half of Kiwis surveyed (45%) said that they have purchased products from one or two online stores that they previously had not used before the onset of the pandemic.
Shopping Trends Survey Methodology
*Data for the GetApp Customer Experience Survey was collected in October 2020 from an online survey of 1,013 respondents from New Zealand. The survey data used for this article comes from all of the above participants who qualified to answer. The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants. The criteria for participants are consumers who have made an online purchase in the last 6 – 12 months.