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Shoppers now five times more likely to look for a product on a marketplace than on a brand website: study

Just as offline markets aim to offer shoppers more choice, so too do online marketplaces. Image: Goodlux/Shutterstock

Shoppers are now five times more likely to start looking for a product on a marketplace than on a brand’s own website, a new study suggests.

InRiver questioned 6,000 adults in the US, UK and Germany via OnePoll about where and how they look for products online. The study found that marketplaces – such as Amazon and eBay – are now the starting point for 44% of product searches – against 19% of searches that start on a search engine. Brands’ own websites win only 9% of initial searches. Among those aged 18 to 24, more than half (52%) start searches on a marketplace, and 18% on a search engine. 

The study, Inside the mind of an online shopper, also found that only 14% of respondents would not switch to a rival product if their first choice was not available – suggesting that 86% would. Product information is seen as important for 45% of those surveyed, while 82% will look at a number of places for information on products if the information they find in the first instance falls short. Shoppers rate the written information they read (39%) ahead of images (24%), customer reviews and ratings (19%) and video (12%). 

“It’s no longer good enough to excel across just one or two channels. Consistently high-quality experiences, findability, and availability are a must across all domains or brands and retailers risk losing significant sales. That simply isn’t an option during this year’s Golden Quarter with many expecting this year to reach record numbers,” said Thomas Zanzinger, chief executive of InRiver. “Brands can no longer rely on their name alone to seal the deal. Loyalty has shifted and brands need to ensure they’re meeting customer expectations both of the product and in the purchase journey to beat stiff competition on the digital shelf.”

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