What Really Drives Customer Satisfaction During Online Purchases


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Marketers and business executives sometimes act like it’s impossible to tell what drives customer satisfaction when customers are shopping at the online storefront instead of the physical location. Companies rely on byzantine formulae and convoluted logic to try and understand what customers want, instead of the relatively expedient solution of asking them what they need.

Every online business will have slightly different results for their particular customers; perhaps their customers prefer to shop online and then pick up their purchases, for example. But overall, these numbers held over a wide variety of online consumers.

Many businesses decide to sell to customers on direct credit and offer a discount when customer pay buy store credit. Good credit score literally pays off when it comes to online shopping. It’s a competitive advantage that many retailers currently exploit.

ComScore collected data from online shoppers to help businesses understand what their customers want in the online shopping experience to keep them coming back for more.

Delivery Time

The anticipated delivery time is a huge factor in an online shopping experience. ComScore found that a huge number of customers abandon their shopping carts at the point when they see the delivery time; at that point, more than a third of customers will pay a fee to upgrade their shipping time. Almost half of customers expect to see a delivery option that will give them their purchase within 2-3 days, and about a third expect to see that overnight shipping is an option, even if they don’t choose it.

We think of online customers as shopping for convenience, and this is true, but businesses should remember that this refers to the customer’s convenience, not the business’s. If the customer doesn’t get their purchase in the timeframe they want, they’ll buy it from a competitor, even if that means a higher shipping fee.


Customers want to see a company’s return policy laid out clearly long before they actually make a purchase. More than half of customers are more likely to both make a second purchase and to recommend an online retailer to a friend if they can easily complete a return.

Businesses should look to make return policies clear, and make it obvious how to initiate a return. They must prioritize responding to customer concerns, and while it can be helpful to offer other options, such as a replacement or a repair, it’s important to make sure a return for a refund is always a clear choice that the customer can make.

Clear, Easy to Understand Information About Product and Services

Customers don’t want to have to dig around your website for small print, or read an entire page of text to understand what is going to happen once they click buy. For some situations, especially for highly sensitive industries such as legal advice, medical diagnosis or business insurance topics, it’s not possible for every eventual situation to be covered on a website.

In these cases, it’s important to make it clear that what is presented online is general information, and that customers need to speak directly to an agent to get accurate and up to date information that’s specific to their business.

Customers understand that sometimes a business can’t give them every detail, but when you can, they definitely appreciate it.


When customers purchase a product in a brick and mortar store, they generally get to take that item home with them. Buying online is something of a faith investment in a company; customers hand over their money well before they get the item in question.

Anything the company can do, therefore, to help customers know exactly where products are in the process of shipping and delivery improves the customer experience. If a customer receives their product when they expect it, 50% of them will consider that a factor in recommending the business to a friend.

And three out of four customers strongly agree that tracking information should be included for absolutely every purchase. Customers also appreciate email alerts for shipping and delivery changes, such as when the item is packed, delivered to the carrier, and when it is out for delivery. For items that need in-person delivery, offering a two-hour delivery window dramatically increases customer happiness.

This gives companies strong information about where to focus any necessary improvements or metrics. It is also clear that many of these opportunities influence one of the key factors that indicates a successful business; the spread of word of mouth recommendations. All the advertising campaigns in the world don’t overcome the massive benefits of creating buzz or going viral.

Companies need personal recommendations to be successful; that has been true as long as business trends have been tracked. The online world has disrupted many shopping trends, but this one remains true. Companies should continue to develop programs and benefits that have been shown to create customer satisfaction and positive interactions.

Margarita Hakobyan
CEO and founder of MoversCorp.com, an online marketplace of local moving companies and storage facilities. Business women, wife and mother of two with bachelor's degree from the University of Utah with a concentration in International Studies and a Masters Degree also from the University of Utah with a degree in International business.


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