Consumers voted with their pocketbooks this past year to get back to some semblance of a shopping “normal.” A disrupting 2020 featured soaring online shopping as people shunned stores. This year saw online sales revert to pre-pandemic numbers (19.3% of all commerce), with the U.S. Commerce Department reporting all sales up 20%

With all that good news, it might be easy to miss that Amazon and its marketplace vendors gobbled up 40% of all online sales. Not surprisingly, in a survey recently commissioned from RSR research, we found that most retailers are begrudgingly creating an Amazon strategy – to go along with their Google Strategy. 

Is this attention to the two behemoths the right move?

What Shoppers Are Saying

In this, our second year of taking the pulse of shoppers, we redoubled our efforts and completed a 4,000-person consumer survey across the U.S. and U.K. to lay out the buying habits and attitudes of shoppers. 

And while we found some similarities to last year, such as shoppers wanting their online experiences to be equal to or greater than their in-store ones (93% of customers, a 3% increase from last year), they are still disappointed. In fact, 91% of respondents encountered at least one problem when shopping online over the past year, citing issues such as slow websites (35%), not finding what they want (34%), and disorganized site or app navigation (29%). 

In fact, 68% confirmed that personalized or relevant experiences are still not ‘often’ provided when shopping online. What shoppers are saying loudly and clearly is they want exceptional and personalized experiences — and brands are not providing it. 

In fact, 68% confirmed that personalized or relevant experiences are still not ‘often’ provided when shopping online.

This type of irritation can actually cause people to abandon a brand. So we asked shoppers to list where they are beginning their shopping journeys. More than half (56%) gave more than one answer: Amazon, search engine, and the brand itself. We also looked at those who only gave one answer (44%); while Amazon and search engine were virtually evenly divided, only 16% responded with brand! 

That’s a huge gap for retailers — which we believe is an opportunity. In fact, when we looked at all our data by age groups, we saw something interesting. 

Gen Z Is Defining the Future of Relevance

Gen Z and Millennial shoppers are more likely than other generations to pay more if they could find products quicker (60% of Gen Z, 52% overall), if they could discover something new (54% of Gen Z, 44% overall), or if they received tailored recommendations (53% of Gen Z, 44% overall). Gen Z is also the generation least loyal to retail behemoths, with 53% of Gen Z respondents listing reasons why they would veer away from Amazon, including that they don’t trust reviews and prefer other brands. 

Our inaugural Relevance Report found that retailers often fail to meet shoppers’ expectations. A year later, we’re realizing that the relevance challenge remains pervasive.

And this cohort is actually driven by reviews and social media more than any other. 

“Our inaugural Relevance Report found that retailers often fail to meet shoppers’ expectations. A year later, we’re realizing that the relevance challenge remains pervasive,” said Brian McGlynn, General Manager of Commerce at Coveo. “People want personalization, even though they like to shop anonymously. We’re also seeing generational breakouts that retailers must address.”

And while shoppers want personalization, they did admit being concerned about how their data is being used by retailers. But again, the good news, that hesitancy goes away when brands can build trust with their shoppers.

Enjoy the full Relevance Report: Ecommerce.

Get the full reportRelevance Report: Ecommerce
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About Diane Burley

Diane Burley is an expert on what it takes to stand out in the digital age. She showcases her expertise when writing about the necessity of AI, NLP, and intelligent search in DX projects. She cut her teeth as a reporter, is a long-time technologist, and knows how to tell a story in a gripping way

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