Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association
A new online shopping report that tracked more than 8 million
consumers shows that they often
spend several days digitally window shopping before making a purchase. The average time delay
between a consumer's first visit to a Web site and their first purchase was just over 19 hours,
with over 20% of shoppers delaying their buy decision for more than three days.
About one-third (35%) of shoppers took more than 12 hours to make a buy
Twenty-one percent took more than three days, with 14% of these "cautious shoppers"
taking more than one week to decide where to buy.
The extent to which digital window shopping has become commonplace is clearly
data tracking the buying behavior of more than 8 million online shoppers who visited 140 Web
sites between June 2004 and March 2005. Participating retailers included GSI Commerce,
Ritz Camera, and Tiger Direct. The behavior was recorded during individual A/B split tests
sites ran to evaluate ScanAlert's HACKER SAFE certification mark affect on sales conversion
"Consumers abandon shopping carts with an ease that frustrates and often
retailers," noted report author Ken Leonard, CEO, ScanAlert. "Retailers must understand,
however, that almost half of all online purchases are from shoppers who leave a site after the
first visit, and return -- even days later -- to buy."
The Web is a "catalog of catalogs." Today's online shoppers typically visit
multiple sites, loading
items into shopping carts as a convenient way to compare total costs, including shipping charges.
The return-to-buy decision seems to be based on two general categories: price/availability and
safety/trust. The length of time from initial visit to actual purchase measured during the tests
shows that consumers do a great deal of evaluation in these categories before deciding where
to buy. The delay varied from site to site depending on customer demographics, brand
recognition, the number of competitors online, and average product price.
Average Time from First Visit to Purchase 50% took more than 1 hour 21% took more than three days 40% took more than 3 hours 14% took more than one week 35% took more than 12 hours 4% took more than two weeks 28% took more than one day Sample Test Results Time Delay Competition Product Description Observations 8 hr. 50 min. Low Infant products Single SKU. Unique product. 10 hr. 3 min. Low Wholesale building Sells largely to small supplies contractors. 14 hr. 51 min. Med Retail pharmacy Low-priced products. Repeat prescription buyers. 15 hr. 20 min. Med Specialty musical Niche market. instruments Limited number of sellers. 18 hr. 33 min. Med High-performance Sells to primarily auto parts male customer database. 20 hr. 25 min. High Sporting goods Very competitive market focused on branded footwear and apparel items. 21 hr. 4 min. Med Bicycling products Sells on price. Competitive and accessories market with small number of large retailers and cataloguers. 24 hr. 15 min. Med Metalworking tools Niche market. High number and supplies of repeat buyers from an educated demographic. 24 hr. 37 min. Med Tools and Specialized products sold to hardware goods those who typically watch PBS' New Yankee Workshop show. 24 hr. 51 min. High Home security products Non-exclusive product SKUs. 25 hr. 53 min. High Logo'ed lapel pins Low priced and widely available. 25 hr. 53 min. High PC games Highly competitive, price-conscious market. 26 hr. 45 min. High Gourmet health foods, Products available on many nutritional supplements Web sites. 27 hr. 38 min. High Marine parts and New and used parts and accessories accessories sold through online parts database. 28 hr. 37 min. High Luxury personal items High price point and selling to a typically risk- averse demographic. 59 hr. 40 min. Very Consumer electronics Highly competitive, price- High conscious market. Shopping search engines critical to driving traffic in this market.
Summary and Recommendations
ScanAlert's findings regarding shopping behavior point to both motivators and
barriers to online
shopping. They clearly indicate that for those who comparison shop the most, trust factors can act
as strong motivators when present. Conversely, they can also be strong barriers when absent.
Contrary to the popular notion, these factors can be the deciding factor for a large portion of shoppers.
Two key recommendations for converting shoppers into buyers are: creating a
comfort zone for
comparison shoppers, and moving the focus from shopping cart abandonment to site abandonment.
Site designers need to make the shopping experience more informative, and the sense of safety more
"memorable," in order to influence those who "abandon" their carts not to completely abandon the
site later when it comes to deciding where to buy.
"Shopping cart abandonment is simply the act of moving on to the next
added. "Carts must therefore become convenient shopping tools -- encouraging shoppers to return
and buy. Saved search functionality, where returning purchasers can easily pick up where they left
off, is critical to saving more of these types of purchases."
Obtaining a Copy of the Report
Anyone wishing to receive a copy of the report can email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About ScanAlert, Inc.
Headquartered in Napa, CA, ScanAlert is the world's largest Web site security certification company, protecting over 60,000 Web sites in 30 countries. ScanAlert conducts rigorous daily security audits that make Web sites secure from hackers and then certifies it to their visitors with a HACKER SAFEŽ certification mark. HACKER SAFE certification protects millions of shoppers every. For more information, please visit www.scanalert.com.
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