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Study: What online customers want - Online customer experience in Germany – expectation vs reality (B2C and B2B)

This year’s “Was Online-Kunden wünschen” (What online customers want) study, conducted by ARITHNEA and adesso, has revealed that most online shoppers in Germany are still happy with their online customer experience, but slightly less so than they were in 2019. According to the study, speed continues to be key. For the first time, the study distinguished between online shopping for businesses and pri-vate consumers. The study shows that business customers are slightly less satis-fied than private customers. B2B customers want comprehensive customer portals that show the full history and information, as well as personal, tailored treatment.

Even in the year of the coronavirus pandemic, most German online customers (81 %) are satisfied with their shopping experience. Yet compared to the previous year, the level of satisfaction has fallen slightly. In 2019, 87 % of those surveyed were satisfied or very sat-isfied. Correspondingly, the proportion of those who are dissatisfied with their customer experience has risen slightly – from 4 % in 2019 to 6 % now. Guido Ahle, head of adesso’s new Digital Experience business area, says: “We are not concerned by the slight drop in the satisfaction level, as there are clearly external factors behind it. Ultimately, many com-panies experienced delivery issues lasting several weeks. There were also many people who made purchases online for the first time during the lockdown and therefore had their own user struggles. We are going to wait and see how that develops.”

Guido Ahle, head of the future business unit "Digital Experience" at adesso (Copyright: adesso SE)

In just one click: speed continues to be of the essence

The most notable trend year on year is that speed continues to gain in importance in online shopping. For 43 % of those surveyed, “one-click buying” is the perfect shopping experience. That sentiment was shared by only 26 % last year. While being forced to have a customer account remains the number one obstacle to online purchasing to-day, it is now perceived as “very annoying” by only 32 % of those surveyed (last year: 37 %). One-click buying and having a customer account go hand in hand. Guido Ahle adds: “On the one hand, those who shop online want to make their purchases in just one click. On the other hand, many do not want to create a customer account. Yet it is not possible to complete the purchase process in just one click without setting up an account. This apparent contradiction is explained by the different groups: Regular customers of a store are more likely to create an account in order to shop quickly in the future. But cus-tomers who shop only once from a store want to complete the process just as quickly – and that is exactly why they do not want to create an account.”

Excessive shipping costs continue to stop purchases in their tracks

As in the previous year, the number one reason for shopping basket abandonment among private consumers is shipping costs that are too high (70 %). Respondents also abandon their baskets if the preferred payment method is not offered (54 %) or delivery times are too long (45 %). Of all the reasons for not continuing with a purchase, the latter recorded the largest increase over the previous year (39 %), which fits with the trend towards even faster shopping.

Commercial online purchases are slightly less satisfactory than private

For the first time this year, the study also explicitly compared commercial (B2B) and pri-vate (B2C) online shopping. B2B online shopping fares somewhat less well, with 73 % of business customers very satisfied or satisfied with their online shopping experience. Guido Ahle adds: “We see greater challenges in B2B shopping. The number of B2B purchases did not increase during the crisis – in fact, it actually decreased. A quarter of the B2B re-spondents still see room for improvement.”

B2B customers want individual price negotiations

Excessively high shipping costs also ranked first place (50 %) among the reasons for bas-ket abandonment in B2B shopping, followed by long delivery times (47 %) and lack of es-sential product information (42 %). What is noticeable, is the clear desire for individual pricing: for a good third of those surveyed (32 %), the lack of individual pricing is a reason not to continue with the purchase. Being required to have a customer account is much less problematic in B2B stores than in B2C, with 19 % of business customers willing to aban-don a purchase for this reason – a clear difference compared with B2C stores.

“B2B follows B2C?” A clear yes and no

A look at what each group of online shoppers wants confirms the difference. For B2C online shoppers, the most important factor is still how smoothly the purchase process goes. Additional personalised offers and services do not matter as much. B2B shoppers, however, prefer to have full information and personal contact. As business customers, they particularly appreciate the ability to call up all receipts and invoices (75 %), a list of all or-ders (74 %) and comprehensive data sheets and instructions for the products (71 %). Digi-tal experience expert Guido Ahle sums up: “Convenience and speed are top priorities for both private online consumers and business online shoppers. However, those two things do not necessarily mean the same in different contexts. ‘B2B follows B2C’ is true insofar as the latest technical developments usually take place in B2C and B2B providers should take note of what is happening there. However, they have to re-evaluate every trend and every feature in light of the specific requirements of commercial purchasing transactions.”

The entire “Was Online-Kunden wünschen” (What online customers want) study is availa-ble to download for free from the websites of adesso and ARITHNEA.

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