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Shoppers don’t visit your online store for inspiration

Aug 30, 2021

Summary

  • 2 out of 3 European shoppers surveyed say they want to be inspired online
  • But shoppers say Amazon and Google are more inspiring than webshops
  • You need to provide emotional rather than functional inspiration to attract browsing shoppers

Inspiring is not top of mind when shoppers think of online product search. But the majority of shoppers want to be inspired online. They just don’t visit webshops for inspiration. In fact, many shoppers say that a lack of inspiration is a barrier against using webshops. 

If your webshop is uninspiring you risk losing control of the top of the marketing funnel to Amazon and Google. And you’ll need to compete on hygiene factors like price and delivery. Or increase spending on SEO and advertising. If you want to attract browsing shoppers, you need to make your webshop inspiring so it stands out from the crowd. 

Webshops are seen as less inspirational than Amazon and Google

As discovered in the The Behavior of Online Shoppers Survey 2021, 67% of shoppers want to be inspired when browsing online. But only 29% say online retail stores are inspirational.

Online product search is associated with functional benefits – most of all it’s convenient, but also easy, cheap, fast and with a lot to choose from. Inspiring is not top-of-mind, when consumers think of online search. 

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Webshops do not own the top of the funnel. Amazon is a clear market leader when it comes to finding inspiration online. 51% of shoppers surveyed say they look to Amazon for inspiration– web shops come in fifth place among sources of inspiration, with only 29% saying webshops are inspiring. 

Webshops are outperformed on all parameters – consumers find inspiration in physical stores and Amazon. Shoppers' primary reason for visiting webshops are searching for products they’ve already decided to buy. 

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How can you make your webshop inspiring?

The survey shows there’s potential to improve the perceived inspiration element of webshops across all demographic groups – all shoppers want to be inspired online. To make your webshop more inspiring you should:

1. Identify how offline shopper behaviour can be transformed online 

Understand the full buying journey of online shoppers, and create inspirational content targeting the majority of browsing shoppers, instead of the small percentage looking to buy.

Most online stores are not inspirational because most retailers don't understand the customer journey fully. For shoppers, the whole inspirational journey, product evaluation and research is a huge part of buying online. But most of the resources retailers put into their webshops are targeted only at converting the 2% of shoppers looking to buy.
Hannu Vangsgaard, Digital Acceleration Consultant. 

The 98% of online shoppers not yet ready to buy are browsing. They’re looking around for inspiration. Checking out product specifications and product use. Comparing product ‘A’ with ‘B’ within the retailers’ assortment. To cater to them you need to provide detailed product guides, how-to's and highlight contextual product images. By being inspiring and helpful, you’ll end up having a positive effect on the total conversion rate.

2. Focus on emotional inspiration

Inspirational webshops should be built on emotional engagement and a personalized shopping experience. By focusing on these two pillars, you can drive long-term shopper loyalty.

Amazon is incredibly efficient at functional inspiration. With a huge variety of products, fast delivery and competitive pricing. But Amazon doesn’t appeal to emotions. Retailers today can compete with Amazon by focusing on emotional inspiration. By building online platforms designed to inspire and communicate unique brand stories, retailers can connect with shoppers on an emotional level and increase shopper loyalty.

Danish retailer Søstrene Grene has successfully transformed its business model to deliver a world class ecommerce experience. Their webshop focuses on delivering engaging content designed to create emotional connections with shoppers.

Søstrene Grene’s marketing strategy is called ‘Experiences like no other’. They aim to take more ownership of the whole customer journey and look to inspire shoppers, not just in the buying process but also before and after buying their products.

We believe that if we can support the entire customer experience we will build more trust and brand loyalty than if we only communicate on price. My best guess is that when we look at our content production around 85 to 90% of our total content produced is inspirational, or with a focus on creating inspiration, and I would guess that the other 10 to 15% is much more about focusing on the product.
Rasmus Skjøtt, Chief Digital Officer at Søstrene Grene.”

The takeaway

The majority of shoppers want to be inspired online. But they don’t look at webshops for inspiration. If your webshop is uninspiring you won’t attract browsing shoppers. To make your webshop inspiring, ensure you identify how offline shopper behavior can be transformed online, and focus on delivering emotional inspiration and personalized shopping experiences. 

Matt Whitby

Matt Whitby