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What do consumers say is most important for making online purchases?

Listening to customers is the starting point of a sustainable, long lasting and satisfactory relationship between the customer and (your) business.

Nikki Constantine Oct 13, 2022 8 minutes
Customer online payment needs

Their needs, wishes, expectations and experience therefore should form the starting point for the organization, to build the business and relationship. Only if the organization manages to attune all aspects of its services to the customer, will a valuable customer experience be created that results in financial value.


Business catering to consumer needs can be up to 60% more profitable compared to non-needs catering businesses. Simply put, consumer needs are the number one driver for consumers to seek out for and get ahead with making a purchase for a product or service (that you could be offering). Meeting and exceeding consumer needs is the reason for consumers making a purchase (with you).


Exploring customer needs gives you the insight in why shoppers buy your product or service. In this brand-new study by Riverty eCommerce Review, we do a deep dive in the ocean of consumer needs and reveal what else lies beneath the surface of the online shopper wishes. 

New research shows that 56% expect to hit their preferred payment method. 40% also search for good reviews before making a purchase.

#1: Has the payment method I prefer Consumers want to see their preferred payment method

Offering the right payment method to consumers in check-out is now most important. According a whopping 56% of consumers the first and foremost important need is a webshop that it “Offers the payment method I prefer”. Especially in the current days, where Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) becomes increasingly more popular, and the demand for flexible payment needs and a payments experience that suits the shoppers of 2022 grows.

Shoppers now also start to actively look for BNPL before they make a purchase. Especially shoppers that already adopted BNPL, keep an eye out for webshops that offer the flexible payment method, for either some or even most of their online purchases. Heavy shoppers and subs in particular have a higher desire for BNPL, compared to Medium and Light shoppers. The current European share of BNPL use in checkout 18% (June 2022) and is expected to grow continuously. This new need is therefore not a surprise to be at the top of the list, however, it is a newfound consumer desire.

#2: Perceived as very secure
Shoppers are still security seekers online

Secondly, a webshop needs to be “Perceived as very secure”, according to 55% of shoppers. This need is a true Hygiene Needs. If an online shopper feels doubts about the webshop’s security, there is a change the shopper will abandon the basket in checkout. On the other hand, the perception of a safe environment invites the shopper to resume their purchase journey in checkout. > the Dutch shoppers have a slightly higher need for perceived security (60%) compared to other countries.


#3: Is a webshop I have used before
A returning shopper is the best shopper.

Next in line with 41% is the need for using a webshop that “I have used before”. This hygiene need is foremost a need to retain shoppers. 
Light shoppers have higher hygiene needs in general. > the Dutch shoppers have a slightly higher need for Have used this webshop before (47%) compared to other countries.

#4: Is well-known
It’s all in the name: big brands attract shoppers to webshops

The need for a “well-known” webshop follows with 40%. This need matches with the need for “A webshop I have used before” (41%). Well-known websites typically provide shoppers with a sense of trust and ease about making a purchase and receiving the items or services in return.

#5: Has good reviews
Shoppers seek certainty in fellow-buyer reviews

On the other hand, the presence of also existing physical stores (17%) and “Looks like a website I can trust” (35%) are of less importance. The webshop needs for Perceived security, being Well-known, Good reviews and Have used before all cater better to the needs of online shoppers, or already create the right environment for consumers to gain trust that they need for making purchases.

Online shopping is part our daily lives, sometimes even more so than going to a brick-and-mortar location to buy our necessities. Consequently, the need for “Also have physical stores” is low (17%).


Shoppers’ expectations are growing: service needs are in high demand and make a big difference for consumers

#1: Cost free delivery (shipping) - 1 out of 2 shoppers want free delivery. Free returns are also top of the list.

Free delivery/shipping is in high demand in online shopping and is becoming the norm. Shoppers simply want their items shipped to them, free of charge (49%). Attaining to this need is an attractive marketing tool, as it feels like a win for consumers and draws shoppers to webshops and results in increasing sales. It also works the other way around: additional shipping fees added to the bill, causes for abandoned shopping carts.


#2 Cost free returns - Free returns reduces risk for online shoppers and adds to the feeling of security of buying the right items or sizes

Free returns-needs are becoming more important, too. 46% of shoppers need their returns to be free of charge. Similar as offering free shipping, shoppers want convenience. Shopping online sometimes leads to surprises: ill-fitting jeans, damaged items, poor quality or simply ‘not as described’. Free returns for consumers mean a lower risk for when purchases do not turn out as expected. After all, shoppers do not enjoy buying items they cannot see, try or experience without compromise when shopping online. A free return process reduces risks for shoppers and can help attract and attain customers for webshops. > the Swedes shoppers have a slightly lower need for free returns (43%) compared to other countries. This rules, too, for Heavy shoppers across all countries (41%). Heavy shoppers on the other hand, have the lowest need for free returns (41%).


#3 High quality products - Quality products remain crucial, say 44% of online shoppers

Good quality needs are a no brainer. Good products and services? Happy customers. > the Swedes have a slightly higher need for good quality products (50%) compared to other countries


#4 Good customer service - Good customer service – never goes out of style

This need can mean many things, but all fulfill the same need: an easy to find and dial phone number, to a personal note from a merchant, to finding a way around stockouts and proactively reaching out to their buyers when a delivery delay arises. Good customer service is a need as old as time, holds a share of importance at 43%, and is not going away anytime soon.


#5 Has good product descriptions and product images - 43% need a clear What you see is What you get: Has good product descriptions and product images

The need for clarity is high. Good descriptions and images are helpful in making purchases. For example, it can give shoppers confidence to buy a product online that they would normally would only purchase in a physical store. Or, in favor of the webshop, good product descriptions can help the shopper making the right buying decision and avoid returns.


#6 Offers payment options without added fee, 39%, is a new discovered webshop-need on our horizon

Shoppers look for payment methods that fit their needs and do not want to pay a fee for whatever method fits their desires and lifestyle. If a payment method is penalized, it is more likely the cart will be abandoned.


#7 The lowest prices - Low prices still attract a little over a third of shoppers

37% say webshops need to have the lowest prices to meet their needs. Being price-conscious occurs across all segments: from Heavy to Light shoppers, from high to lower incomes, from Loyalty/Subscription shoppers to one-time purchasers. Low price-focus, you either have it, or you do not. > the German shoppers have a slightly lower need for the lowest prices (33%) compared to other countries


#8 Good search and filter functionality - Good filters are more compulsory in an online world: Has good search and filter functionality is a need for 32%

In our online world of today, helpful filters to (distill) quicker results, and moving into checkout faster is what shoppers need in their purchase journey.


#9 Offering a wide range of payment options

21% of shoppers in need of more prominent payments methods.

Those long lists of payment options in check out keep growing, and for a reason: as the payment options in the landscape of online shopping are expanding, so and the needs for having a wide range of options to choose from. Shoppers want to be able to choose whatever method fits their needs at the moment of check out.

Heavy shoppers have a higher need for availability of their preferred payment option.

The more you shop online, the bigger your desire to see your method of choice to be available in checkout. This shows among Heavy shoppers (10+ purchases per month), as 26% says so compared to 25% of Medium shoppers and 17% of Light shoppers.

Other webshops needs are:

Types of needs Percentage

Has the fastest delivery time


Have many different products in the product area I’m interested in


Offers a wide variety of product areas


Clearly displays in-stock levels


Offers a wide range of payment options


Has a seal of approval by a webshop trust guarantee service


Offers a wide range of delivery options


Has verified buyer product reviews


Offers a wide range of return options


Offers an app that I can use


Shopper profiles

Heavy shopper
Medium shopper
Light shopper
Small sketch

10 or more online purchases per month

Heavy shoppers have a share of 40% of all online purchases (Medium and Light make up the other 60%)

Have children in their households

Is employed

Lives in urban areas

Have little time to go shopping so buy most online

Makes more impulse buys (24%)

Small sketch

3-9 online purchases per month

About 45% of all online shoppers are Medium shoppers > slightly more Medium shoppers in Germany

Ages between 30 – 69 – mostly between 30-39

No children in their household

Is employed

Lives in urban areas

Makes fewer impulse buys (16%)

Small sketch

1-2 online purchases per month

About 31% of all online shoppers are Light shoppers > slightly more Lights shoppers in the Netherlands

Ages between 50 – 69 – mostly between 60-69

No children in their household

Is either employed or retired

Lives the suburbs or towns

Makes the least impulse buys (9%)