More and more shoppers today seek inspiration online for their purchases. Even when shoppers aren't currently looking for something, a certain source may inspire them to make a purchase. In fact, according to Google, 60% of consumers get the urge to buy a product from a source of inspiration even when they're not actively shopping.
If you want to incentivize your customers to buy from you, you should understand precisely what inspires shoppers and how you can appeal to this need.
Why Do Online Shoppers Seek Inspiration Online?
Inspiration is particularly crucial when so many brands are saturating people's screens with ads and vying for attention. If you can inspire your customers, you'll have the chance to truly differentiate yourself from competitors.
Many factors today have affected what people find inspiring in brands. For example, the recent pandemic has forced a major shift toward eCommerce reliance, as more people than ever shop online, and that shift is likely to stick for many years. Additionally, Gen Z is a digitally-oriented generation of young shoppers who have grown up surrounded by digital technology, making them more tech-savvy and actively online. Yet another factor is the increasing adoption of mobile devices, as more and more people use smartphones to do everything from conducting research into brands to making purchases.
Many potential sources of inspiration can spark some excitement among shoppers and entice them to become customers based on the changes we're seeing. Through an authentic and refreshing experience, you'll be able to put your brand at the forefront of people's attention. The key is knowing which locations to target and the strategies to implement that truly inspire.
Generally, it's important to target both micro-moments and inspiration-led moments with your marketing efforts. While micro-moments are those with high intent that motivate people to use mobile devices for instant results, inspiration-led moments get people to perform a desired action when they're simply browsing.
Where Do Online Shoppers Find Inspiration Online?
If you're not sure which platforms to use to inspire your customers, the following are some of the most popular ones you'll find online.
According to data from Statista, marketplaces are the main source of inspiration for online shoppers across the globe. These include big eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy that connect buyers with sellers.
There are many ways to inspire customers on marketplaces like Amazon. For instance, Amazon Live takes the online shopping experience to the next level with real-time brand interaction. Using this platform, shoppers often find great product recommendations and tips from leading influencers who help drive sales.
The same data from Statista determined that social media was the third-leading source of inspiration for online shoppers. Using a platform like Pinterest is ideal if your business aims to reach to a demographically heterogeneous audience.
Pinterest is a highly visual platform that brands often use to post pictures and video content. Users can also utilize inspiring tools such as “Collections” and “Try On” pins that connect with users. Collection Pins group product pins in collections to enable people to shop for similar types of products, while Try On Pins allow mobile users in certain regions to engage in virtual try-ons of products using Pinterest Lens. Features like these can easily engage and excite your customers.
Instagram is a visual platform that's ideal for connecting with Millennials and Gen Z. In fact, Instagram is the favorite social platform among Gen Z.
One of the best tools for brands to use on Instagram is Instagram Stories, which makes it easy to share all types of inspirational video content. You can use Instagram Stories to hold live streaming events and Q&A sessions, post compelling product showcases, feature influencer "unboxing" videos, and more.
The Statista report also found that 18% of consumers draw inspiration from retail websites. This shows how critical a good retail website is for all types of eCommerce brands.
On your retail site, you can post engaging blog posts detailing your business's practices, origins, and efforts to maintain sustainability, or you can create dedicated pages on your site detailing your values and mission. In addition, you can push personalized content such as unique product recommendations based on the user's interests and inspire in other creative ways.
Statista concluded that 31% of shoppers get their inspiration from search engines, second to marketplaces. Specifically, shoppers often turn to search engines to look for new products, services, and brands, performing related searches. Targeting keywords that inspire users to enter into Google and other search engines can help ensure people find you first above competitors. You can achieve these kinds of rankings via either search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) ads that maximize your website's visibility.
Another way to inspire shoppers on search engines include getting started with Google Shopping. This service lets shoppers find various products based on their search queries. If you’d like your products to be featured on Google Shopping, you first need to set up a Google Merchant Center account. Then, you need to create your product data feed, which helps Google find and display your products whenever a user searches for relevant products. There you input product information such as the title, price, main image, and the availability. Keep in mind that there are several factors to consider if you’d like to rank higher on Google Shopping, including having high organic traffic to your main website and improving page quality. Eventually, Google Shopping can get new shoppers to be inspired with your brand and increase traffic to your website.
How to Inspire Online Shoppers in Your Digital Store
Inspiration is one of the most powerful driving forces for shopping behavior today. The problem is that the majority of shoppers seek inspiration on out-of-product channels, including search engines and social media. To overcome this challenge and inspire shoppers more directly, you must become a go-to address that captures people with inspiration-led moments when people are merely browsing, having fun online, or casually window-shopping. Although micro-moments are also important to capture, they only enable you to capture shoppers when they're actively seeking your offerings. Meanwhile, with inspiration-led moments, you can create that demand to boost conversions further.
Using the platforms available to you, there are plenty of strategies you can implement to inspire online shoppers.
Stream Shoppable Videos
One of the best tools to use for connecting with and inspiring shoppers is a shoppable video. These are videos that include product showcases and other video content while allowing people to buy your products straight through your video. This technology helps you streamline the checkout process and bring people closer to purchase while they're fully inspired.
You can embed shoppable videos Stories in your website or mobile app with Storyly. These full-screen, interactive, and personalizable video Stories direct users to buy your offerings from a video with specific calls to action. Moreover, Storyly’s in-Story Checkout feature offers a unique single-touch checkout solution enabling users to instantly build their carts and purchase products directly while watching the Story.
Deliver Personalized Experiences to Build Connections With Your Customers
Online shoppers love personalized content that speaks directly to them. Whether you direct messaging toward specific audience segments or make personalized product recommendations, you can use personalization in multiple ways to inspire shoppers.
Personalization is another area where Storyly Stories can help. Using our Stories, brands can provide personalized shopping experiences that offer more personal messaging and interactions. For instance, you can display in-app or web Stories that recommend products based on order history or expressed interests. You may also welcome and onboard users with personalized messages based on user input and demographics.
Shop the Look
Inspiration can come from seeing a particular look that appeals to shoppers. For instance, you can use a video featuring an influencer wearing or using your products, whether you highlight a specific product or a collection. You might have your influencer demonstrate a specific product or interact with a compatible set. In any case, you can include a call-to-action encouraging people to "shop the look."
Seeing someone engaging with your products can help shoppers imagine themselves doing the same, inspiring them to make a purchase even when they weren't considering it before.
Give Context to Your Products
You can easily inspire audiences by giving more context to your products and helping people envision how they would specifically use your offerings.
For example, you could create images or videos displaying various use cases for your products. You might even target specific use cases based on audience segments and how they would use your offerings.
While shoppers might get some shred of an idea of how they would use your products based on specific features and their needs, you can fully realize their purpose and inspire purchases when you explicitly detail those potential uses. In turn, you give people more context for your products.
Use High-Quality Images
When highlighting your products or attempting to inspire with images in another way, ensure your images are of consistently high quality. Images on your website, social media, and other platforms should be vibrant and appealing, which will reflect the quality of your brand and offerings.
As you create high-quality images, there are several ways to approach visual content creation. One way to make your imagery stand apart is through the use of a color palette that's uniquely recognizable as your brand's. Consider the emotions you want to inspire and the specific color schemes that evoke them.
Also, use compelling and inspiring images in your video thumbnails. These images function as your videos' covers—if they don't inspire clicks, people won't watch your videos even when they're likely to find great content behind the thumbnail.
You shouldn't be afraid that it includes text in your images, either, but make sure it complements rather than detracts from the image. Using a brief inspirational phrase or quote could enhance your image without visually overwhelming viewers.
Offer Augmented Reality
One of the most innovative and immersive tools that are increasing in popularity is augmented reality (AR). Using this technology, mobile device users can view virtual objects in the real world, allowing them to interact with products and other virtual items as if they were physical. There are many ways brands can use this technology to inspire online shoppers with the right AR solution.
For example, clothing brands can allow users to see what various articles of clothing and accessories would look like on them before buying. They might see how different tops, bottoms, and shoes might look, along with jewelry, sunglasses, and other items.
Meanwhile, furniture stores might allow users to view custom furniture pieces that they designed before buying, eliminating the need for a physical sample. The user could fix the virtual furniture piece in place and walk around it, viewing it from every angle in its designated location with a full-scale model. This would eliminate doubt as to what the final product would look like.
Combining the real and virtual worlds with AR can ultimately offer you an innovative way to differentiate your brand and connect with customers.
Let Users Express Themselves Through User-Generated Content
A growing number of brands are also encouraging their customers to produce their content, making them active participants instead of passive consumers. By allowing users to create their content, you're keeping them engaged while connecting them with your other customers, essentially forming a community that further inspires shoppers.
One of the advantages of user-generated content (UGC) is that it appeals to people's need for "real" experiences created by "real" people. People don't have as much of a connection with brand-curated content, as it lacks that personal touch which people find with good, honest content from real people. This need to come across as authentic and genuine makes UGC an invaluable asset for your brand.
There's no shortage of UGC you can encourage people to create. You might get users involved in a contest wherein they submit videos of themselves using your offerings in unique, inspirational ways. Other UGC might include user-generated guest blogs, reviews and testimonials, social media live streams, and more.
One effective way to use UGC to your advantage is to integrate Moments by Storyly into your app. This intuitive, authentic and fun solution enables users to create and share full-screen Stories instantly in the app. It empowers users as it gives them a full canvas to express themselves. App users can share their Stories with the rest of the app community, connecting them directly with buyers, sellers, influencers, and others in the app. As a result, users will feel that they're part of a community, leaving them inspired and keeping them loyal to your brand.
An Example of Inspiring Online Shoppers
As you look for ways to inspire online shoppers, using Storyly Stories can be a great start to gather audience data and display personalized content.
Before trying to inspire online shoppers with your brand, you need to understand their preferences, likes and dislikes. Consider utilizing interactive Stories with polls, sliders and questions to collect zero-party user insights. As shoppers provide these insights willingly and voluntarily, you can display more accurate personalized offers. For example, you may ask shoppers what their hobbies are via quizzes, then you can suggest them relevant products based on their interests. This will help you eliminate the possibility of the decision fatigue and inspire the right people with the right content.
By inspiring your customers, you'll be able to drive more conversions and sales while standing out from a crowd of competitors that lack inspiration. With the help of Storyly Stories and a solid strategy, you'll have the chance to harness the full power of inspiration that fuels long-term growth for your brand.