Online Shopping Continues to Boom but Shipping Remains a Nuisance for Customers

Online shopping has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Research estimates the market to to increase steadily to $370 billion in 2017, up from $231 billion in 2012. 

This year’s Cyber Monday sales set a new record of over $2 billion, the largest amount of online sales in one day. Online sales from the past Thanksgiving Day in the US through to Cyber Monday alone is more than $6.5 billion—over $1 billion a day.

Points being: these are large numbers and they’re only getting larger.

And yet people are abandoning their shopping carts at alarming rates. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2014, an average of 70 percent of customers did not complete their online purchases. Many people abandon their carts and leave retailer sites at the shipping stage. 54 percent of those who abandoned shopping carts said that they did so because the shipping costs made the total purchase cost higher than expected.

Although overall satisfaction with online shopping is high, at 83 percent, it drops below 50 percent when shoppers are asked about shipping costs, shipping options, delivery timing, and flexibility to reroute packages to convenient pick-up locations, studies show.

Online retailers struggle with international shipping: they recognize the huge opportunity in global eCommerce, but shipping-related issues continue to be a barrier to expanding internationally. Online retailers are reluctant to expand to emerging markets because of the risk of lost shipments or deliveries to invalid addresses that leave the merchant liable for the cost of return shipping.

Trulioo, a global identity verification startup based in Vancouver, recently revamped its website and introduced a new identity verification service, GlobalGateway, developed for the international market to support a diverse range of electronic identity verification requirements. The product was created specifically to help businesses comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer rules and offers bank-grade identity verification and international address verification.

“Before shipping a high-value item to someone in another hemisphere, eCommerce sites and online retailers want bank-grade identity authentication to verify identities and addresses,” said Stephen Ufford, founder and CEO of Trulioo. “This will offer customers an optimal shopping experience because delivery is completed timely and businesses can avoid the unexpected return of a package due to an incorrect address.”

Identity authentication can also improve customer experience for domestic online shoppers. Incorrect addresses entered at the shipping stage can result in misdirected packages that increase consumer frustration and added costs for online retailers. Statistics Canada revealed that Canadian companies sold $136 billion in goods and/or services online in 2013.

“GlobalGateway covers three billion people in more than 40 countries,” Ufford said. “Our robust API integrates seamlessly into existing systems and identity verification processes to perform on-demand instant identity verification so that your customers can shop online in real-time via mobile or desktop and have a true frictionless commerce experience.”