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5 expectations of online shoppers

The web is an appealing place for shoppers. It fulfills the desire for immediate retail gratification and convenience. Although three out of four consumers in the U.S. and U.K. choose convenience as the key reason for shopping online,(1) other factors are also important. Let’s take a look at five expectations of online shoppers.

  1. Detailed product descriptions

Product photos and descriptions are a given, but online shoppers want even more. They want to see the product from all angles. Clothing and shoe descriptions should include color choices and allow the shopper to zoom in and see how the product looks on a model. Some companies, like Zappos® for example, even include product videos. Online shoppers also want to know what other people think. They want access to reviews, ratings, and customer testimonials. More than half of online shoppers specifically seek out websites with product reviews.(2)

  1. Easy and secure checkout

With so many high profile data breaches affecting popular retail businesses, consumers are becoming more cautious about whom they trust with their payment information. Consumers expect secure payment options using the brands like Visa®, MasterCard®, Discover® and PayPal. Some even want to be able to pay by check. Additionally, shoppers want the option to check out as a guest or create an account with the merchant. Many shoppers will abandon a site if it does not assure a secure, quick and easy checkout.

  1. Convenient shipping and returns

Shipping is the highest-rated obstacle to making a sale online – two-thirds of consumers rank delivery costs as their “pet peeve” when shopping online.(3) While free shipping can make or break a sale for many shoppers, they expect flexible delivery options at the very least. This includes free shipping for orders that meet certain criteria, over $50 for example, and the ability to schedule delivery times. ProFlowers® for example, allows customers to choose the day and timeframe (morning, afternoon, evening) for their floral delivery. Shoppers also expect hassle-free returns, with free, printed return labels. 

  1. Special promotions

Consumers are looking for deals that make shopping on the web worthwhile. They want promotions that grab their eye (and their wallet), such as free samples, 10 percent off subsequent orders, and of course, free shipping and returns (see #3). Online shoppers expect the promotions to be clearly noted – they don’t want to take time to search for the details. Special offers and discounts should be prominently displayed on all pages of your site.

  1. Customer service

Whether online or in-store, consumers count on good customer service. Online shoppers expect an email notification confirming their order, payment and shipment details. If the shopper has created a personal account with the merchant, they want the ability to edit details such as payment type on file and shipping address. Online shoppers also look for FAQs with fast answers to commonly asked questions, and easy access to customer service via email or online chat.

For more information about how you can meet the expectations of online shoppers, contact us.



1. Wipro™ http://www.wipro.com/newsroom/press-releases/convenience-beats-price-driving-more-shoppers-online-this-holiday-season-Wipro-Digital-research/, (December 14, 2014).

2. Chain Store Age™, http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/study-online-shoppers-expect-user-reviews, (February 18, 2015).

3. ExportX®,http://export-x.com/2014/08/07/delivery-charges-obstacle-online-sales/, (August 14, 2014).

Visa, MasterCard, Discover, PayPal, Zappos, and ProFlowers are registered or unregistered marks belonging to one or more unaffiliated third parties that do not endorse or sponsor Vantiv Integrated Payments, LLC.


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