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‘Option Overload’ stopping nearly half of mobile shoppers from buying – despite constant research

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Already the catalyst for digitally connected lifestyles, smartphones are inciting a new state of always-on commerce – but overwhelming choice is preventing as many as 46% of shoppers actually buying anything.

While one in four digital consumers research products on their smartphones daily and nearly half (47%) research multiple times per week, constant access to shopping channels is contributing to nearly half (46%) of consumers citing “too many options” as a reason for not completing a purchase.

As part of its third consecutive “Reimagining Commerce” research report, Episerver surveyed more than 4,500 online shoppers in eight countries and discovered that a third of global digital shoppers (35%) look at an item three or more times before making a purchase, and 87% 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,” explains 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% 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% 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%), shipping tracking (61%) and information about returns (52%). 

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