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Shoppers value sustainability and browsing over brand loyalty, study says


New research from inriver, a provider of product information management systems, has found sustainability is a top priority for consumers when making purchases.

The report, Inside the mind of an online shopper, looked into ecommerce shopping behaviours and preferences. It is based on a survey of 6,000 consumers across the US, UK and Germany and found a mere 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 explored the essential elements retailers and product manufacturers should consider leading up to the 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.

What’s more, 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. And 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,”,” said 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.”

Inriver’s product information management (PIM) SaaS solution is designed to equip brands with a single source of product data truth across even the most complex global value chains. With inriver’s digital shelf analytics capabilities, brands can automatically monitor all online touchpoints and get the engagement intelligence and data-driven insight needed to make the right adjustments at the right time, on the right channel.

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