What Drives Online Sales? Content.

Price Matters Most Online
When it comes to online shopping, customers value quality product content above all else.

When consumers are shopping for or browsing products online, they want as much information as possible to help them make purchasing decisions, according to a new study.

Salsify, a product content management platform for online retailers, polled more than 1,000 online shoppers about what drives their decisions when they are shopping and making purchases online.

According to the survey, 94 percent of consumers will either abandon a website or just give up on the online shopping experience altogether if they can’t find the information they are looking for on the site; 66 percent of those dissatisfied with the information said they searched on a different site; 28 percent said they didn’t make a purchase; four percent said they bought a different product; and only two percent replied that they brought the product anyhow.

Many consumers are price-conscious when shopping online, but most of the time it’s detailed product content that effectively leads to the purchase, as 88 percent of consumers listed it as “extremely important” or “very important” to their purchasing decisions.

“Consumers are, naturally, very price-conscious. But when making their purchase decision, our research showed that product content (descriptions, feature bullets, images, videos, reviews) is a critical factor that makes them click ‘buy,’” according to the survey. “It’s the only way they know exactly what they are buying ­– and the right content makes for a great consumer experience.”

Images seems to be driving the largest share of online purchasing decisions, according to the survey, as 66 percent of consumers say they want to see at least 3 images of a product while shopping, while 75 percent said they preferred to see product images against a plain background instead of photos of customers using the product.

“Brands should prioritize providing imagery that clearly shows the consumer what they are getting over products in action or user-generated images,” according to the study.

Detailed product descriptions ranked first on the list of things that led to online purchasing decisions, followed by ratings and reviews, and price was surprisingly third on the list of what drove buying decisions. And 82 percent of customers said they want to see at least three reviews of a product before they would consider buying it.

Millennials are most easily influenced by others' endorsement of a product on social media and were 40 percent more likely than other adults to say that product content was “extremely important" to their buying decision. Of millennials, 72 percent said they were more likely to purchase a product based on photos of others who had used it, 60 percent replied that they were more likely to check out a product online because of a post they saw about the product on social media and 50 percent of millennials said they ranked ratings and reviews as the top impact on their online purchasing habits.

“If millennials are your target market, make sure your product information includes social and user-generated content,” according to the study.

When it comes to shopping on mobile, moms were found to be the group that shopped and bought on their phones the most, as moms were found to be 30 percent more likely to shop online than other adults and 43 percent more likely to actually make an online purchase than the rest of those surveyed.

“More than anyone else, moms shop and buy on their phones – while they’re doing everything else,” according to the study. “They’re busy – so they’ll only give one or two sites a chance before making their decision to buy.”

In fact, moms were found to be 47 percent more likely than others to visit only one or two online sites before making the decision to buy.

“Across all demographics, product content is the number one reason consumers click ‘buy.’ Brands and retailers must focus their efforts on creating a superior mobile experience across all devices, and deliver content that accurately represents the product that they will receive,” according to the study. “If you provide that superior content, and a competitive price, you have the opportunity to both close the sale and also build long-term consumer loyalty.”



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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