Use inspiration in the retail shopping journey

September 16, 2021
Rebecca Wine profile picture
Matt Whitby
  • Interview with Jesper Holm Joensen, CEO of Danish digital agency No Zebra
  • Jesper says retailers need to focus more of their marketing efforts on providing inspirational content at the top of the funnel
  • He stresses changes to data protection legislation mean retailers cannot track shoppers behavior, and therefore must rethink their approach to marketing

Jesper Holm Joensen is the co-founder and CEO of digital performance agency No Zebra. Based in Aarhus, Denmark, the agency specializes in marketing, design and technology. And uses data and insights to help their clients gain a competitive advantage in ecommerce.

In this interview Jesper provides insights on how retailers can transform their businesses, and why he believes one of the biggest challenges currently facing retailers is understanding the full online shopping journey.

The online shopping journey is complicated

The Behavior of Online Shoppers Survey 2021 shows a majority of the 6,000 European shoppers interviewed associate online product search with functional benefits. Including being convenient, easy, cheap, fast and with a lot to choose from. Inspiring is not top of mind, when consumers think of online search.

The benefits shoppers see of shopping online: Convenience, easy, cheap

When it comes to drivers of basket size, 64% of shoppers say free delivery is the most important factor, followed by assortment. Only 23% agree that an inspiring webshop is a driver. But Jesper explains that the full shoppers journey shows a different picture.

As the survey shows, a lot of shoppers, and also a lot of retailers are concerned about the lower funnel part of the buyer's journey. Such as assortment, price and convenience."

"But when mapping out the buyer's journey, there are often 10 to 15 different steps or touch points the shopper has made with a brand."

"Some of these are digital, some offline in stores. And a lot of these steps involve inspiration. Building brand loyalty and trust. Guiding and providing information. And that is what helps shoppers make a decision to buy. The final part of the buying journey, checking out, is the end game. There's a lot of things going on, before shoppers arrive there."

Inspiration could be the hidden x-factor

Jesper explains that moving shoppers along the buying journey requires inspiration at the right time and moment. According to the survey, 67% of shoppers said they want to be inspired when shopping online. But only 29% say webshops are inspiring.

Browsing shoppers are seeking inspiration, but they’re also seeking help in the buying process.

"Surveys show that 80% of purchase decisions are made before shoppers reach out to a brand or retailer. So it's very important retailers help shoppers make that decision in their advertising, in their digital marketing.”

“Retailers should adopt the shoppers mindset. Figure out what are their concerns, what are their pains, what are the frictions in the decision process when buying this product. Or satisfying their needs. Because often it's not a drill the shoppers want, but it's the hole in the wall. So retailers should help shoppers to see how they will get the best hole in the wall.”

Content is key: Hero, hub and help

Jesper explains the key to converting shoppers into buyers is delivering great creative content. Helping shoppers make a decision to buy a product.

Great content means helping the shopper in their journey. It means showing them how a  product can be helpful.

"What will the product do to their appearance, how can it make their life easier, more convenient. It should inspire, while at the same time, help them make the decision to pick your product.

One of the concepts used by No Zebra to help retailers with digital marketing is a framework developed by Google. It's called Hero, Hub, Help. It's a method that helps retailers to organize their content so they can deliver the right content in different parts of the shopper journey.

“Help content is what we also call always-on content. Where the intention is to help the shopper answer all their questions about the product. Such as how does it compare with other products? Is it washable? Etc. Hub content is more seasonal and based on campaigns such as sales on Black Friday or gift ideas for Mother's Day and Christmas. Hero content is broad and should answer questions about how a product would affect my life, or what I should have in my life for the next year.”

A funnel showing how consumers go from "strangers" to "high value users"

The importance of managing shopper data

But Jesper says that it’s getting more and more difficult for retailers to understand the buyer's journey as there’s less data available to track the buyer's journey.

Two of the biggest challenges facing European retailers concern personal data protection. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), among other requirements, means shoppers must give permission to be tracked using cookies. Additionally changes made in the latest Apple iOS 14 software prompts users to give permission for apps to track their data.

“The recent changes to personal data protection is a challenge for retailers. Because we don't have the same ability for retargeting, tracking user journeys, and aiming content in the same way that it was before. It's very important for retailers to own first-party shopper data. As data is essential in mapping out and creating shopper experiences.”

When we look into the future where we can’t track data the same way as we used to, there'll be a shift in how we do digital marketing.

"One of the ways that we can engage the shoppers could be through more inspirational content. We can go back to using more creative ideas and shareable content, because we cannot target the content in the same way in the future."

Thanks to Jesper Holm Joensen for participating in this interview. Stay tuned to this channel for more in depth interviews from leaders in inspirational retail. Check out the iPaper Insights to learn more, where you can sign up for our newsletter to ensure you never miss the latest insights from retail marketing.

Jesper Holm Joensen is a co-owner of iPaper and member of the board of directors. The iPaper business model was established at No Zebra and a separate company was created to focus on the growing demand for digital catalogs.

Curious how inspiration can impact your business?

Check out our blogpost on inspiration in online retail here.

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