New consumer study reveals inspiration the secret ‘x-factor’ to win in online retail

June 10, 2021
Rebecca Wine profile picture
Matt Whitby
  • A new study of online shopper behavior shows a majority of European consumers say they want to be inspired when shopping online.
  • Significantly for retailers, The Behavior of Online Shoppers Survey 2021 shows shoppers think many online stores are not inspirational. And a lack of inspiration is a barrier against using them.

The survey is a collaboration between iPaper and Epinion, a leading European market research company. It identifies trends from the responses of over 6,000 shoppers across the UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy and Sweden.

The survey shows 67% of shoppers want to be inspired when browsing online. But only 29% say online retail stores are inspirational. Concerningly for retailers, 57% claim a lack of inspiration or poor shopping experience is a barrier against buying products from webshops.

There is potential to improve the perceived inspiration element of webshops across all demographic groups – all consumers want to be inspired online. Retailers should identify how offline shopper behaviour can be transformed online. They need to 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.

Jesper Lykke Nielsen, Director, Digital Business at Epinion says: “The Behavior of Online Shoppers Survey 2021 provides a lot of unique insights about what shoppers truly want when engaging with online retailers. Previously, little research has been done about whether shoppers perceive ecommerce as inspiring.”

“From this report it’s clear that simply showing off your products is not enough, and as a retailer you need to inspire shoppers. True inspiration should be built on emotional engagement and a personalized shopping experience. By focusing on these two pillars, retailers can drive long-term customer loyalty.” concludes Jesper Lykke Nielsen.

Retail can focus on emotional inspiration to compete with Amazon

A majority of shoppers (51%) stated that Amazon was the market leader for online inspiration. Amazon was also a preferred destination for product search and purchases. A huge 60% of shoppers use Amazon to buy products, compared to only 24% who use webshops.

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.

Mark Rasmussen, CEO of iPaper says, “This survey shows that there is a gap in the market. Shoppers want inspiration, but many webshops do not provide enough of it. And we predict the demand for inspirational content will only increase. Retailers need to rethink how they can connect with browsing shoppers, and build inspirational shopping experiences. A large percentage of shoppers already agree they buy spontaneously, so imagine the power retailers could have if they inspire those impulsive shoppers.”

About The Behavior of Online Shoppers Survey 2021

The Behavior of Online Shoppers survey is a study of 6,000 European consumers’ online behavior. The survey seeks to identify online shopper trends across six countries (UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Sweden) and provide a deep-dive into the online consumer journey. The core focus areas of the survey are online search, inspiration and buying behavior and cover a broad scope of consumer goods (e.g. clothing, electronics, groceries). The project is designed in collaboration between Epinion and iPaper.

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