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Online shoppers value sustainability credentials over brand loyalty, study finds

More than three quarters of shoppers believe that it is important for brands to showcase their environmental and sustainability credentials, with the vast majority shopping elsewhere if that information is missing.

According to the report, “Inside the mind of an online shopper,” which surveyed 6000 consumers across the US, UK and Germany for inriver, just 18% of respondents thought it wasn’t important for a brand to showcase their sustainability or eco-practice product information online. Combined with accurate product descriptions and product availability surpassing any notion of brand loyalty, the report explores the essential elements retailers and product manufacturers should consider leading up to the Golden Quarter and holiday shopping season.

Research is king for consumers

With rising living costs and continued supply chain issues, research is king during the purchasing process with many consumers looking to compare and shop in more than one place to find the best deals. The report found even if a website provides all the production information, 83% said they will look elsewhere.

Further, findings show brands need to get it right the first time to increase their chances of making a sale. Nearly three quarters (69%) of respondents will not buy a product if the product description is poor. On top of that, inaccurate online product descriptions left almost half (47%) of respondents feeling frustrated and even 36% feeling angry with a significant 86% admitting to taking their business elsewhere.

Instant gratification versus returns

The need for “now” overtakes brand loyalty almost every time, with two-thirds (62%) saying they would switch to a competitive product if their first choice was out of stock, with only 12% saying they would be unlikely to switch.

Despite this need for immediate access to products whenever they want them, the research suggests the reasons behind having to return products could also impact trust and confidence. The most common reasons for returns for those surveyed was the product not being as described (32%), followed by a poor fit (21%) or it being the wrong item (12%).

Creating the right digital impression

At a time when online experience is critical to the purchasing decision, complete and accurate product information is the first opportunity to make a good impression. In fact, 81% agree product information was either an essential or very important factor when deciding to buy. 

Additionally, written descriptions are still seen as the most important detail (39%), ranking above images (25%), customer reviews and ratings (18%), and video (12%). This has interestingly remained somewhat unchanged compared to the survey conducted last year cementing the critical need for the right information and written content online.

“Brands are bracing themselves for the most unpredictable Golden Quarter and holiday shopping season yet. Issues surrounding health, supply chain disruption, and rising living costs are impacting consumer trends like never before,: says Niels Stenfeldt, CEO at inriver. “Our report highlights the need for brands to build a digital shelf customers can rely on. This is true across all sectors, with even B2B industries like manufacturing seeing buyer behavior that now reflects B2C trends. For companies looking to exploit these behaviors, the importance of better product data has never been clearer. Not only to drive revenue and customer experience but to also create the product stories that truly matter.”

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