Survey reveals how customers make product decisions online

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Despite extremely low levels of brand loyalty, there are steps that brands can take to influence the path to online shopping.

According to “In the Mind of an Online Shopper,” a new consumer survey by product information management technology provider Inriver, only 14% of people say they likely wouldn’t switch to a competing product if their first choice was not available. The survey also found that nearly seven in 10 respondents (69%) decided not to buy products because of poor descriptions.

Additionally, 82% of respondents are likely to search for product information in more than one place, and 45% of respondents feel frustrated when faced with bad product information.

According to the survey, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are now the starting point for 44% of all product searches, accounting for the largest share of search, compared to just 19% for search engines themselves. This trend was particularly pronounced among 18-24 year olds. Over half (52%) of respondents in this age group use markets as a starting point and 18% use search engines.

Brands’ own websites are even less popular as a starting point for product research, commanding only 9% of initial searches among all respondents.

A recent poll from Bazaarvoice indicates that more than half of those surveyed are ‘sometimes’ enticed to buy a new ‘unknown’ brand on social media, while 73% said they had recently purchased a new brand on social media and 55% said they had bought a new brand on social media recently. ‘they had opted for a new brand rather than their going to the brand.

When asked to identify the top three factors for why they choose a new brand on social media, 50% of respondents said it was relevant, based on their needs and wants. Product benefits / feature / ingredients followed closely behind (49%), followed by price (29%).

In addition to making their products available through online marketplaces where possible, the survey also reinforces the importance for brands and retailers to provide consumers with high quality product information online. More than eight in ten respondents (83%) agree that product information is a critical or very important factor in purchasing decisions.

Respondents most often chose the written description as the most important detail (39%). Written product descriptions were found to be more popular with surveyed buyers than images (24%), customer reviews and ratings (19%), and videos (12%).

“It is no longer enough to excel on one or two channels. Consistent high quality experiences, research and availability are a must in all areas where brands and retailers risk losing significant sales. This is just not an option during this year’s Golden Quarter, with many expecting this year to reach an all-time high, ” noted Thomas Zanzinger, CEO at Inriver. “Brands can no longer rely solely on their name to close the deal. Loyalty has changed and brands need to make sure they meet customer expectations of both the product and the buying journey to beat the fierce competition on the digital shelf.

This independent survey was conducted by OnePoll between April and May 2021 in the United States and the United Kingdom and in September 2021 for Germany. Information was collected from 6,000 online shoppers aged 18 to 64 in each region.


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