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Three-quarters of online shoppers say their online purchases are largely pre-planned (20% say they’re all pre-planned, 55% say many are pre-planned). Regardless of whether shoppers know what product they want to buy before going online or are just looking for inspiration, few actually start their journey at a brand or retailer’s own website or mobile app, per the latest research from Episerver.

Only 15% of shoppers make a brand or retailer’s website their first stop when they don’t have a product in mind to purchase and are looking for inspiration. Even when shoppers know what product they intend to purchase, only 19% of shoppers head to a brand’s website or mobile app.

Google, on the other hand, is most often the first destination for shoppers looking for inspiration (32%), or for shoppers starting their purchase journey with a specific product in mind (31%). But there is other research indicating that Google may be beaten by Amazon when it comes to the percentage share of product searches.

That being said, as the online shopping giant continues to swallow up a mammoth share of all e-commerce sales, Episerver indicates that Amazon rivals Google when it comes to shoppers who intend to make a purchase, with 28% choosing the online marketplace as their first stop for shopping. However, shoppers are less inclined to use Amazon as a destination for inspiration, with only 23% of respondents reporting they visit the website first if they are just browsing.

A sizable share of shoppers are also turning to social media as their first port of call for shopping inspiration (12%), although very few (1%) turn to social media when they know what product they want to purchase. This is somewhat indicative of how they interact with social media ads. While some 63% of respondents said they have clicked on a social media ad, only about one-fifth (21%) said they have actually made a purchase directly from such an ad.

These figures may have to be taken carefully, as 45% of respondents to the survey were between the ages of 18-37. This may mean that these social media findings are leaning towards youth, especially considering that the report indicates that only 5% of respondents over the age of the 38 use social media a means of shopping inspiration.

Shoppers Start to Embrace Voice Ordering

Currently, shoppers expect retailers to offer options like free shipping (67%), shipment tracking (61%) and information about returns (52%), however, in the future, voice-enabled ordering may be a feature that shoppers begin to expect.

Admittedly this may be a bit of a stretch as, at present, only one-tenth of respondents said they were more likely to buy from a retailer that offered voice purchasing than brands that did not. Moreover, more than half (55%) report that the availability of voice ordering does not affect which retailers they purchase from. It is perhaps worth noting, however, that prior research has shown that retailers are starting to look at the opportunities voice ordering presents as more consumers are getting comfortable using smart speaker capabilities.

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: The report explores behaviors and common trends of over 4,500 global online shoppers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Australia. Respondents have shopped online (e.g., via desktop, mobile, smart devices) in the past year, and the survey was conducted between December 2018 and January 2019.

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