STUDY: Option Overload Prevents 46% of Digital Shoppers from Purchasing, Despite Daily Research

Episerver’s Third-Annual Global Consumer Study Points to Fixed Browse-Often, Decide-Occasionally Behaviors

Already the catalyst for digitally connected lifestyles, smartphones are inciting a new state of always-on commerce in which learning about and looking at products is an everyday norm. In fact, one in four digital consumers research products on their smartphones daily, and nearly half (47 percent) research multiple times per week, according to a newly released study by Episerver, the company transforming digital experiences.

As part of its third consecutive “Reimagining Commerce” research report, Episerver surveyed more than 4,500 online shoppers in eight countries and discovered that, despite this flurry of consumer activity, constant access to shopping channels is contributing to nearly half (46 percent) of consumers citing “too many options” as a reason for not completing a purchase. To help make sense of all the choices, a third of global digital shoppers (35 percent) look at an item three or more times before making a purchase, and 87 percent compare what they find on a brand or retailer’s site to Amazon™.

“Knowing only a small fraction of customers do not use Amazon to compare products can certainly be a cloud over a retail operation seeking engagement and conversions on their digital properties,” said Ed Kennedy, Senior Director of Commerce at Episerver. “However, knowing consumers’ mindsets that casual swiping can turn into committed shopping, retailers can drive interest and, ultimately, sales by lessening the burden of choice and doubling down on experience-driven commerce. Product education, personalized content and site search, purchasing ease, promotions on multiple channels, peer reviews and performance of the site itself can all make a difference.”

While the data suggests consumers are in a hyper-active state of browsing, 46 percent of the most serious buyers – those with a product in mind – head to a marketplace (Amazon included) to purchase. As for online shoppers without a product in mind, only 39 percent of them say they start at a marketplace – providing some respite from Amazon, eBay™ and the like.  

This fallible consideration stage remains the most opportune for retailers as consumers state only one in five of their purchases are planned, meaning they may be open to marketing messaging (both organic and paid) should a retailer follow through with accurate content and address digital shoppers’ top expectations: free shipping (67 percent), shipping tracking (61 percent) and information about returns (52 percent).

Episerver customer Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply™ rose to the occasion of meeting consumers’ digital expectations online and in-store with 33 stores located in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Nebraska – selling everything from bees and boots to shirts and snowblowers. To improve their digital experience, Murdoch’s moved up from their Ektron CMS to Episerver Digital Experience Cloud™ to the tune of a 250 percent increase in their available online inventory, 58 percent increase in active users and a 48 percent surge in online revenue.

“Like shoppers are always browsing, digital transformation is ongoing,” said Teresa Harting, Chief Marketing Officer of Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply. “We continuously look for ways to support seamless experiences on any channel – or combination of channels – our customers like to shop on.

“Very recently, for example, our partner Luminos Labs helped us implement an order management solution from Episerver alliance partner, OrderDynamics to improve shipping speed and order consolidation as well as critical tracking updates. It’s always been in the fabric of our company to listen and react to customer feedback, but now browsing and buying behaviors can help us foresee and adapt to trends, along with our agility as a company and Episerver’s extensibility as a platform.”

To learn more about these digital shopping findings and others, download Reimagining Commerce’s full results with commentary and customer examples. 

The report is based on a survey of consumers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Australia who shopped digitally in the past year.

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