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A new study from Elastic, the company behind the Elasticsearch big data analytics and search engine, reveals insights into the ecommerce shopping experience. Called “Product Over Price: The Critical Role Personalization Plays in Converting Online Searches into Sales,” the study illustrates how online retailers can turn searches into sales by providing shoppers with personalized product recommendations quickly and at scale.

In addition to the 84% who prefer personalization, 88% of online shoppers said they were more likely to continue shopping on a retailer website that offers a personalized experience, including 96% of Gen Z and 97% of millennials.

Image credit: Elastic.

The study also found that 95% of shoppers are likely to take cost-cutting measures in response to rising prices and that 53% are still prioritizing finding the right product over the lowest price even given uncertain economic times.

Finding products online can be frustrating

Online shoppers recognize that buying directly from a retailer offers powerful benefits
that outweigh other options: 92% would start searching on a retailer’s website, especially
for better prices (48%). But when they do, nearly 2 in 3 (65%) say it is not very easy to find
their desired product.

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Overall, 78% encounter roadblocks when searching a retailer’s website, including 27% who struggle with comparing different products. Another 24% are frustrated by having to know specific product names to find preferred products. Most importantly, 30% are frustrated by irrelevant search results, while nearly as many report needing to scroll through multiple pages of results before finding their desired product (28%).

These roadblocks have customers spending a lot of time refining their search. More than 2 in 3 online shoppers (70%) say it typically takes multiple tries to find what they want. When shoppers get slowed down, their frustrations add up and retailers lose business. Three-quarters of online shoppers (75%) would leave a website that did not display their desired product.

Other findings from the study include:

  • 68% bought an item on a retailer website they didn’t initially intend to based on recommendations.
  • 50% of shoppers said an easy-to-navigate website was the most influential factor in their purchase decision, followed by 42% who said targeted promotions and sales notifications was theirs.
  • More than 2 in 5 shoppers (41%) are willing to share personal information to gain a more personalized experience.

The study was commissioned by Elastic and conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+, between June 22 and June 28, 2022, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Read the full study from Elastic.

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