(Image credit/Pixabay/bluebudgie)A global consumer survey suggests smartphones are inciting a new state of always-on commerce. Digital shoppers from around the world are constantly learning about and looking at products is an everyday norm. In fact, one in four digital consumers research products on their smartphones daily. Nearly half (47 percent) research multiple times per week, according to a newly released study by Episerver.

As part of its third consecutive “Reimagining Commerce” research report, Episerver surveyed more than 4,500 online shoppers in eight countries.

The report provides useful insights into consumer behaviour while shopping online. “Too many options” was suggested by 46 percent of consumers as the reason for not completing a purchase. To help make sense of all the choices, a third of global digital shoppers (35 percent) look at an item three or more times before making a purchase. Eighty-seven percent compare what they find on a brand or retailer’s site to Amazon.

Incorrect or incomplete content on a brand’s website and/or mobile app has stopped 97% of online shoppers from completing a purchase.

Ed Kennedy, Senior Director, Commerce at Episerver (Image credit Linkedin)
Ed Kennedy, Senior Director, Commerce at Episerver

Ed Kennedy, Episerver Senior Director of Commerce says, “A small fraction of customers do not use Amazon to compare products. This can be a cloud over a retail operation seeking engagement and conversions on their digital properties.

Knowing consumer mindsets

Kennedy added, “Knowing consumers’ mindsets that casual swiping can turn into committed shopping. Retailers can drive interest and, ultimately, sales by lessening the burden of choice and doubling down on experience-driven commerce. Product education, personalised content and site search, purchasing ease, promotions on multiple channels, peer reviews and performance of the site itself can all make a difference.”

Forty-six percent of consumers actively looking to buy a product eminently, go to a marketplace, including Amazon to purchase. As for online shoppers without a product in mind, only 39 percent of them say they start at a marketplace. This provides some respite from Amazon, eBay™ and the like. This consideration stage remains the best opportunity for retailers. Consumers state only one in five of their purchases are planned. This means buyers may be open to marketing messaging (both organic and paid). Retailers will need to follow through with accurate content and address digital shoppers’ top expectations:

  • Free shipping (67 percent),
  • shipping tracking (61 percent)
  • information about returns (52 percent).

The report shows that marketplaces like Amazon reign supreme by offering a wide variety of products and price options. To get ahead, brands and retailers must implement dynamic, integrated content marketing and customer-experience strategies. Such an approach must combine personal, emotional connections with shoppers that go beyond transactions.

Voice-assisted shopping effective for repeat purchases

Voice is gradually becoming part of online shopping habits. More consumers are turning to voice for online shopping. The report, however, shows there is a preference for voice research over voice purchase. Brands and retailers should consider using voice to attract frequent shoppers for repeat purchases, while using traditional channels to build relationships with new customers or less frequent shoppers.

Forty-three percent of consumers cited a lack of security features as the number one reason they won’t make more purchases via voice-enabled devices. Difficulty searching for and comparing products were also cited as barriers to increased voice purchases.

Social media drives purchasing by younger consumers

Social media has evolved into an established shopping channel, particularly for younger shoppers. Influencers are more important than ever. Fifty-two percent of online shoppers who use social media have clicked on an influencer’s post, according to the report.  A third of those shoppers (31 percent) have made a direct purchase from the post.

Twenty-one percent of online shoppers aged 37 and under turn to social media for inspiration online when they do not have a product in mind for purchase, compared to just 5% of online shoppers ages 38 and older.

The report was based on a survey of consumers from US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Australia. Respondent shopped digitally in the past year.

Enterprise Times: What this means for retailers?

Online shopping is not just the act of paying for products in the shopping cart, but includes the entire journey from research to final sale. As Ed Kennedy suggests, shopping today is just as much about the experience as it is about the purchase. This report provides some useful insight into the digital shopping habits of online customers. With so much choice available to consumers, retailers have to keep the attention of their customers. Product reviews and rating services, personalisation, appropriate promotions are designed to develop and maintain relationships with customers.

Needless to say, Amazon will always remain the elephant in the shop. However, nimble retailers should consider tailored social media activities and emerging technology, such as voice, to support user behaviour. Ultimately, this would lead to more sales, better revenue streams and increased chances of surviving in an increasingly competitive landscape.


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