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What is a browsing shopper?

Browsing shoppers don't know what exactly they're looking for. They're simply in the mood to browse and get inspired. The second they see a product they not only like but feel a burst of desire for, they want it immediately. They've got their card details saved and are ready to hit buy. 


But with such unpredictability, browsing shoppers are incredibly hard to convert. They're notoriously flippant, picky and easily distracted. However, 46% of online shoppers are simply browsing so it's essential that today's eCommerce brands understand the needs of the browsing shopper in order to unlock their weaknesses and inspire them to buy.

What is a browsing shopper?

They're the eCommerce equivalent to window shoppers. They're attracted to striking visuals, a well designed store layout and a simple, clear cut customer journey. 




They've probably stumbled across your store from a social media ad or heard about you from a friend. Whatever the reason, browsing shoppers are typically curious to know more. But, you can't predict what situation or state of mind they might be in.


They might be doing other things while browsing; watching TV, procrastinating at work or trying to look busy at the bar while waiting for a friend. Maybe they're in a rush to find a last minute present? Or just got their paycheck and want to treat themselves? Maybe they're killing time while waiting for the bus?


Whatever the situation and whatever the reason, a browsing shopper is ready to browse. They want to get inspired, they want to learn and they want to see what you have to offer. However, as you can't guarantee anything about them, it's seemingly impossible for eCommerce brands to design a shopping journey specifically for browsing shoppers. But, if you know more about how they actually shop, the conundrum of the browsing shopper becomes a little less complex.


How does a browsing shopper shop? 

A browsing shopper shops with their eyes but buys with their head. They're like a kid in a candy store ooohing and aaahing at anything that catches their fancy but will carefully consider and make sure it's something they actually want before buying.


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They might add several versions of the same thing to their basket as they browse, before finally deciding on one or two. They might keep loads of tabs open of your product pages to easily weigh up the options. However they do it, they all shop differently. They all look for a certain something that'll convince them to buy. But for all browsing shoppers, there's one key ingredient they need. Visuals.


There are several options to visually show products in eCommerce:

  • Product images (standard grid photos on a white background)

  • Lifestyle images (photos showing the product in use)

  • 360-degree view

  • User-generated content

  • Instructional videos

  • Augmented and virtual reality 

Most eCommerce brands seem to stick to the classic product image. But what's inspiring about that? Your browsing shoppers won't get that sudden spark of desire from seeing a small image of a product on a white background.


If they don't see anything they like, they won't click through to read about the product. You need to pique their interest and attention with visual content that inspires. If you don't offer that, browsing shoppers won't bother to continue along their product discovery journey.


They might sound demanding and stubborn, but we're all browsing shoppers. We know exactly what it's like to browse online with no specific idea of what we're looking for. We just want to go along at our own pace, see what's out there and get some ideas. So put yourself in the shoes of a browsing shopper. Is your store easy to navigate? Is there too much going on that's it's just confusing and overwhelming? Are you encouraging any kind of product discovery journey?


By understanding how browsing shoppers behave and showcasing your products in a more inviting way, you'll convince them to stay and inspire them to buy. 


About the author

Jo Molloy

Jo Molloy

Jo is passionate about brand storytelling and loves to write. A self-confessed chocoholic and TV addict, she is always on the look out for the latest trends and hopes to share her knowledge and enlighten you with her insightful blogs.

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