The Six Fundamental Expectations of E-Commerce Shoppers

The Six Fundamental Expectations of E-Commerce Shoppers

Regardless of what industry you’re working in—and regardless of what you’re actually selling—if you’re selling online, there are some fundamental expectations your customers have of their experience with you. 

Forward-thinking organizations understand this, and they’re now more mindful of their customers’ needs than ever before, offering up next-generation ways to shop, browse, buy, and obtain support.

What are these expectations? We’re glad you asked. 

Here they are, in no particular order, with a little context on how they apply in the blue-collar space. 


Online customers expect the physical and online worlds to blend seamlessly.

Gone are the days when the physical and digital worlds could offer vastly different experiences. Shoppers now expect that the experiences they have on their devices match the experiences they have in person. 

As an example, say you’re selling shackles through a catalog and online.

Shoppers expect to be able to browse the product at work on their desktop, switch to their mobile device while they’re going for a walk at lunch time, pick up and flip through the catalog you mailed them, and stroll into your warehouse to view and buy the product in person, all while feeling like it was a continuously positive experience.

Yes, it’s a lot of touchpoints to consider, but such are the stakes of the game you’re playing these days. 


Online customers have a desire for instant gratification and immediacy.

This one probably doesn’t need much explanation, so I’ll just say this.

Not only do you need to consider fast shipping times (the faster the better), but one-click ordering and easy-to-follow checkout workflows are an absolute must. Consider time in every decision you make. 


Online shoppers need to feel safe and need to know that sites have the proper security measures and protections in place.

Beyond having the right security features in place (SSL certificates, data privacy, etc.), think about what sort of assurance your brand evokes.

If you’ve got an outdated brand and/or website, you’re sending your customers the wrong signal. Security and assurance are must-haves, not nice-to-haves. 


Today’s online shoppers expect precision in geolocation information, inventory data, order-status messages, pickup time frames, pricing, arrival dates, and user reviews.

Accuracy is about communicating the right expectations and delivering the right information, consistently. 

When people know and understand what’s happening, and how much they’re going to pay for things like shipping and tax, they’re much more willing to buy from you. (Think about all the backlash Airbnb faced from not showing the full amount of your stay, inclusive of cleaning fees and tax. They revamped their entire experience.) 

Take the time to ensure that everything you’re telling your prospective buyers is accurate.


Users now expect e-commerce sites to give them options for almost anything they can do.

Many sites take the idea of flexibility to the extreme by offering policies that were unheard of years earlier. 

This level of flexibility allows customers to interact on their terms and design a shopping experience that suits their needs. 

For these reasons, users now expect e-commerce sites to give them options for almost anything they can do.


As users’ comfort level with e-commerce grows, they expect added elements of surprise and delight. 

Details such as impressive and unique packaging, inspirational content, and even digital experiences that are extensions of physical ones, are all ways in which e-commerce retailers can set themselves apart. 

(For an even deeper dive, visit NN/g’s original article here.)

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