‘Ghosting’ customers costs retailers repeat sales

UK consumers are four times less likely to repeat-purchase from retailers who ‘ghost’ them after a sale, Narvar research reveals.

Consumers’ biggest bugbears when shopping online have been revealed by a study conducted by YouGov and post-purchase platform Narvar.

Being ‘ghosted’ – or when consumers feel abandoned by a retailer following a purchase – is one of the main reasons why consumers would switch retailers after buying from them. 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 communications following a purchase.

Direct communication

Important communications include: fast and direct communications about their orders, accurately predicting delivery date, and being told any bad news – such as delays – straight away. These kinds of interactions were even more important to consumers than, for example, 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 retailer’s post-purchase customer strategy.

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.

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 in customer perception.

Managing expectations is important. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding about being kept in the loop by retailers: 61% 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, 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.”

The study surveyed 2,957 UK consumers aged from 21-65 who made a purchase online in the past six months. Of these, one quarter (24%) shopped online at least a few times a week.

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