While online sales continue to grow, people still find the digital shopping experience lacking, with four-in-ten consumers saying they’re unable to differentiate between one online brand and another, research has found.

According to a survey of over 1,500 UK consumers by e-commerce search and discovery firm EmpathyBroker, many believe retailers struggle to build an authentic digital brand identity, with 46 percent of respondents saying retailers still have more of a brand personality in-store than online. What’s more, 48 percent of consumers felt that online shopping experiences are often more impersonal than when they shop in-store.

EmpathyBroker founder Angel Maldonado said: “For online retailers, the pressure is on. Differentiating in the sea of brand websites and marketplaces is more difficult than ever, which is why it’s perhaps unsurprising that 23 percent of the shoppers surveyed said they didn’t have a favourite brand to shop with online.

“Creating a connection with a consumer relies on more than just grabbing their attention with product discounts or special offers. It’s about making each person feel like they’re getting a unique, tailored and joyful shopping experience. Brands that make consumers feel special, that really understand and get their customers are able to create an effortless and memorable online experience that leaves shoppers fulfilled, happy and loyal.”

Black Friday and Christmas are just around the corner, and the survey shows that 65 percent of UK consumers said they were more likely to shop online at Christmas than any other period; 40 percent during the summer sales; and 39 percent while hunting for bargains on Black Friday. Mother’s Day (23 percent) and Valentine’s Day (18 percent) were also special dates that demonstrated a higher volume of people turning online.

The ease of finding the products they were looking for (55 percent) was cited at the most important aspect of an online experience with good product images (52 percent) and a nicely designed and displayed website (34 percent) coming in second and third respectively. Conversely, innovation came in last with only five percent of consumers valuing it.


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