Retailers should focus more on curating their offering, as shoppers struggle to navigate today’s ecommerce experience

Press Release
November 17, 2023
Rebecca Wine profile picture
Rebecca Wine

Information overload and the increase in available channels makes it harder for retailers to facilitate interactions that lead to conversions.

Today there is a huge focus for retailers to improve the overall customer experience. A new report shines a light on how shoppers see online shopping and how and where they browse products before making a purchase.

This report is based on a survey from iPaper, in collaboration with research company Epinion, the Rise of Curation in Online Shopping derives its insights from an online panel survey across seven European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and Spain. In the end, a total of 6,347 interviews were gathered in June 2023.

We’re excited to share all we have learned about modern shopping behavior in Europe from our survey. At iPaper, we’re firm believers that understanding the shopper is the basis of making better business decisions. Which is why we’re committed to sharing our research with the retail community. Not just to contribute to the shared knowledge, but to improve the way we do things as an industry

- Hannes Cludtes, VP of Marketing at iPaper.

The survey shows that only 13% of shoppers do not feel overwhelmed when navigating their preferred online shopping channels, underlining the pressing need for a streamlined and user-friendly experience.

Source: The Rise of Curation in Online Shopping 2023

This comprehensive study addresses the challenges faced by both retailers and shoppers, and highlights a potential opportunity to focus on how products are presented to improve.

The ecommerce experience is only getting more complex

The retail landscape continues to evolve as tech advances lead to the introduction of more platforms. In turn, shoppers have a growing number of channels to shop and view products on. In fact the average shopper uses 11.6 different channels.

In our increasingly connected world, consumers have the opportunity to shop wherever, whenever, however - and often whether they intend to or not. But with more channels open to them, and the trend that retailers are taking to expand the size of ranges presented, the risk of overwhelming and confusing shoppers is greater than ever.

- Oliver Banks, founder of retail consultancy OB&Co

OB&Co helps retail leaders to drive transformation and realize their strategies and goals.

Oliver Banks podcast, The Retail Transformation Show, consistently lists as the #1 UK retail podcast and among the top retail podcasts in the world.

Younger generations engage with even more channels, highlighting the threat of growing complexity. In fact, Gen Z uses 40% more of the most common shopping channels while shopping compared to baby boomers.

Source: The Rise of Curation in Online Shopping 2023

An increase in channels equals an increase in time and cognitive load while shopping. Some channels might be more suited for getting inspiration, while others are more promotion and transaction driven. It is important for retailers to understand the diverse channel purposes to inform their connected commerce approach.

Shoppers crave an ecommerce experience that is quick, simple and gives a good overview of products

When asked which features would improve the online shopping experience, the top three were simplicity, providing a better overview of products and speed. While adding functionalities like mobile shopping and more product images can enhance the experience, there's a fine line. For retailer’s it's crucial to ensure these additions don't inadvertently increase complexity. What shoppers truly desire is an ecommerce platform that is simple to use, provides a seamless product overview, and quick navigation throughout the entire shopping journey.

Source: The Rise of Curation in Online Shopping 2023

Retailers should reconsider how they present products, as curation can help streamline the ecommerce experience they provide

Shoppers were asked about viewing an endless grid of products vs a curated selection of products and how it impacted their overall shopping experience. The study found that a curated, limited selection of products chosen by the retailer:

  • 62% of shoppers said that it makes their shopping experience easier (Simple to use)
  • 65% of shopper said it gave them a good idea of what products the retailer is offering (Good overview of products)
  • 60% of shoppers said it helps them save time when shopping (Quick to use).

Therefore, by implementing curation online, retailers will be able to improve the online shopping experience for their customers. Currently retailer’s owned channels lag behind in terms of user-friendliness, product overview, and speed.

Shoppers often view these channels as functional necessities rather than sources of enjoyable shopping experiences. This gap presents a significant opportunity for retailers to cultivate greater shopper loyalty.

Define curation and all of the benefits

By strategically curating product placement and visuals in relatable contexts, retailers can alleviate information overload. This curated approach not only highlights crucial product details but also streamlines decision-making. When coupled with targeted promotions, it can effectively address objections, ultimately boosting sales and fostering loyalty.

Curation becomes an essential capability. It's about offering a range with enough choice to give options, but not too much choice to overwhelm. The process of thoughtfully selecting and presenting products in a relevant way can be a point of differentiation in the market that will help customers choose to shop with a particular retailer time and time again.

- Oliver Banks

Availability of the Report

About iPaper

At iPaper, we have over 17+ years of experience in providing retailers with digital catalog guidance, based on insights from over 1200 customers, +10.000 digital catalog implementations, and multiple market surveys. We have developed a framework that helps execute on the insights and learnings we’ve collected over the years. The framework doubles down on 4 core mechanisms of the curated catalog format, how to excel in each of these areas, and how to measure success. Based on our framework, we will provide tailored suggestions for how you can start harvesting from your untapped potential.

Contact Information

For further inquiries or interviews please contact Rebecca Wine:

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