Want to beat Amazon? Appeal to shopper's emotions

July 20, 2021
Rebecca Wine profile picture
Matt Whitby
  • Amazon excels at logistical inspiration
  • It offers a wide range of products, fast checkout and quick delivery
  • But 63% of shoppers are looking for inspiration online
  • If you can add emotional inspiration to your webshop, you'll provide something more than Amazon ever could

There's no disputing that Amazon is the giant of the ecommerce world. Since its launch in 1994, it's become renowned for its ease of purchase, range of products and incredibly fast delivery.

As discovered in our Behavior of Online Shoppers survey, 54% of shoppers go straight to Amazon to search for new products to buy. It's overtaken Google as the first place to go. The availability of its wide range of products is its luring factor. If Amazon doesn't have what you want, you'll have to go away and do more research.

But if it does, you can choose to buy new or used, checkout within one-click and have your order delivered the next day.

Logistically, Amazon is a dream online shopping experience. It's fast, efficient and reliable. But what it offers in logistical inspiration, it lacks in emotional inspiration.

And that's where today's retailers worried about the Amazon effect can step up.

Build desire to capture attention

Amazon doesn't bother to build desire, lust, necessity or excitement about the products it offers. It's simply there to sell. Whilst it's the ideal place to go when you know what you want to buy, when you don't, it can be pretty unhelpful.

63% of shoppers look for inspiration online. Yet Amazon's webshop isn't exactly built to inspire. It's huge array of categories, endless lists of products on a white background, and long bullet points of information are lack-lustre and dull. What's inspirational about that?

When it comes to online inspiration, Amazon severely lacks in emotion. But what do we mean by emotional inspiration?

Emotional inspiration is all about building desire. It's about connecting with the shopper and appealing to their impulsive need to buy through a spark of excitement.

53% of shoppers say if they see something they want, they buy it. And, 46% buy products based on inspiration they get online. So there's a clear market and need for inspiration in retail. Shoppers want to know about your products and engage with your brand, if you put the work in to build that connection.

How to improve emotional inspiration

Visual appeal is key to emotional inspiration. As sight is the focal sense used in online shopping, it's all about what the shopper can see.

You need to tell the story of your products. How they can impact your shopper's lives, and why they're needed.

Example: GoPro

GoPro is excellent at product storytelling. The way it shows off how you can use its cameras is designed purely to inspire.

With every scroll, you learn more about the product. You see how it can be used, and how it works. As more adventurous videos and images are uncovered, you want to just grab a camera and go. It builds that lust. That want. And that need.

Amazon doesn't do that. It doesn't give you an immersive product experience.

Amazon is also entirely limited to its webshop. It doesn't have any other channels it can work across to build a connection with shoppers.

Social media is not only important, but it's necessary to succeed today. As an entirely visual channel, Instagram is the perfect platform to offer emotional inspiration.

It's where brands can inspire ideas, build a community, connect with customers and promote its purpose.

Example: The North Face

The North Face shows products in use both using company photos and user-generated content. It highlights its work with well-known ambassadors and offers advice on how best to explore the outdoors.

North Face Instagram

This more in-depth and personal connection with the brand is what builds the emotional relationship with shoppers. It's what convinces browsing shoppers to join your community and spread the word about your brand.

But Amazon? Still, there's no feeling. It's the essence of the get in, get out shopping experience.

Example: IKEA

Another brand to consider is IKEA. Just like Amazon, it offers a wide selection of products and countless categories. Yet, straight from the homepage, products are shown together in context to offer ideas. Images are shoppable and navigation is clean and crisp.

IKEA homepage

Shoppers can easily see what products work well together. They can see what may work well in their home and easily act on that inspiration.


So, whilst Amazon is the giant we're all competing with, there is a way your store can stand out. If you have the logistics in place, it's up to you to work on the emotional inspiration you offer.

Do you build desire and necessity for your products? Do you tell a story that would stop browsing shoppers in their tracks? Do you promote your message and build a community others are simply desperate to be part of?

Though Amazon is the giant of ecommerce, it does have its weak spots. And if you focus on building desire and emotion, you'll attract that 63% of shoppers looking for inspiration.

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