Research and insights company BMi Research will be one of the first to launch an online customer experience solution that measures and provides insights to help companies improve their customers’ online shopping experience.
South Africa’s e-commerce market has traditionally lagged global trends. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, accelerated the growth of online shopping in South Africa. Despite this growth, online spend accounts for only 2% of all retail transactions locally compared to a global average of 16%, said a 2020 Euromonitor report. The pandemic and extended lockdown encouraged more consumers to try online shopping with a growing number of retailers introducing an e-commerce offering with varying degrees of success.
Given the accelerated penetration of e-commerce and online shopping, BMi Research’s CX Online solution takes traditional mystery shopping research (typically focused on in-store evaluations) a logical step further. CX Online measures the overall experience from the perspective of the online customer including the online shopping experience, the transaction process and the delivery experience, allowing retailers to adapt their offering in order to ensure an optimal customer experience.
A pilot study conducted by BMi Research in 2020, surveyed six online e-commerce stores with each store evaluated by 10 experienced online mystery shoppers. The study highlighted the challenges facing online retailers including ensuring sufficient stock, transaction and delivery issues and unclear refund practices.
“When it comes to online shopping first experiences count,” says Jenni-Ruth Coggin, general manager for consumer behaviour and business insights at BMi Research. “Online platforms need to meet the expectations of customers. Customers that have a disappointing online experience tend not to give those retailers or brands a second chance, which is why it is so important to ensure a positive overall experience each and every time.”