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How shoppers buy – the role of marketplaces and social platforms in retail: study

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Most shoppers now turn to Amazon first to buy – and often buy brands there they hadn’t heard of before, new analysis suggests. 

ChannelAdvisor questioned 500 UK shoppers who had bought from Amazon in the previous three months. It found that Amazon (82%) was the favourite platform for this group to find and discover new products and brand, ranking ahead of Google (68%), eBay (49%) Facebook (22%), Instagram (16%) and retailers’ own websites (46%). 

Amazon was the first port of call for older shoppers (91% of those aged 65 or older), an influence that was less marked in younger shoppers (51% of those aged between 56 and 65). But social channels were popular among younger shoppers: 50% of those aged 18 to 25 said they’d go to Instagram first for product research, followed by Facebook (43%). 

Using Amazon, 84% said that they bought from brands they had not heard of previously. Looking at what it was that helped these brands to stand out, ChannelAdvisor found that that 65% said they tended to buy from the first page of Amazon results, while 66% had clicked on products that were recommended through ads on Amazon – and Amazon, with $4.8bn in revenue in the last quarter of 2019, is now one of the main platforms for advertising around the world. Almost half (47%) had bought products they saw advertised on Facebook – rising to 75% among those aged between 26 and 35. 

Shoppers use reviews (56%), products descriptions (54%), coupons (37%),  images (34%), and videos (16%) to discriminate between the different brands and products sold on Amazon. More than half (56%) said they used the Amazon Prime filter when researching and buying products – tying in with the recently announced Prime membership of more than 150m. That figure rose to 82% among those aged between 25 and 36.

Jon Maury, EMEA managing director at ChannelAdvisor, said: “Consumers’ online buying journey has changed dramatically as the digital landscape is in constant evolution. That is why understanding shoppers’ behaviour is so important for brands as a first step to develop their ecommerce strategy and ultimately grow their bottom line”.

Image: AdobeStock

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