Online Consumer Behavior Survey: Optimizing the Journey for Today’s Multi-Tasking Shopper
Technology has dramatically changed the online experience for consumers — and along with this their expectations. Be it for business or pleasure, digital platforms continue reshaping the way consumers interact and engage with each other, as well as with online brands.
This new reality has made capturing consumer business and loyalty a bigger challenge than ever for eCommerce brands. With mobile usage higher than ever, today’s shoppers are constantly juggling their eCommerce experience with other activities.
To better understand the state of contemporary consumers, we asked more than 1,300 online shoppers about their shopping habits, what online and offline distractions are competing for their attention, and what factors most influence them to embrace — or abandon — their online shopping experience.
As a technology company with the mission of preserving a distraction-free online customer journey, we hope these insights help eCommerce businesses identify how to better optimize their customers’ online experience.
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- 44% of online shoppers use their smartphone to shop more than any other device.
- Over half of consumers are doing their shopping online while simultaneously performing other tasks competing for their attention.
- Prices and shipping fees are the most important criteria influencing shopping decisions for more than 90% of respondents. Additionally, 77% cite shipping and other extra fees as the main reasons they would abandon their online shopping cart.
- For both mobile (63%) and desktop (53%) shoppers, having to enter the same information twice was the top reason chosen as the most frustrating part of the checkout process.
- Email is still a very efficient channel to recover cart abandonment as 38% of respondents indicated they have returned to an eCommerce site to complete a transaction after getting an email offering a discount on the products in their cart.
- 78% of consumers exposed to unauthorized injected ads while shopping on an eCommerce site view that retailer in a negative light as a result. 62% feel these ads mean the customer experience is not a priority for the retailer.
- Over 55% of respondents are likely to click on ads appearing on retailer sites that offer the same product they’re looking at for a lower price. 80% of visitors who end up purchasing elsewhere are likely to buy again from the site that lured them away.
- 48% of consumers believe retailers allow these unwanted ads to show up on their site.
About The Survey
- The 2018 Online Consumer Behavior Study was conducted by Namogoo.
- The survey was conducted in December 2017.
- A national sample of 1,372 U.S. online shoppers participated.
*Note: Numbers may have been rounded to the nearest percent, and may not add up to 100%.
Online shoppers are frequent shoppers
The numbers revealed in this survey indicate that online shopping is a regular part of consumers’ routines, and that a significant portion of online consumers are active shoppers. Forty-two percent of consumers stated they shop online at least once per week, while 26% indicated they shop online two or more times per week. Only 18% of consumers stated they shop online less than once a month. In terms of dollars spent, nearly half of consumers stated they spend more than $100 per month online, with 6% spending over $500 per month.
Shoppers continue moving to mobile
Similar to other mobile commerce research, our consumer responses showed that mobile shopping accounts for a significant percentage of overall shopping. Forty-four percent of online shoppers stated that they use their smartphone to shop more than any other device. Since mobile users have unique needs from their online shopping experience, response data for some questions has been segmented by mobile and desktop users. With mobile shopping only expected to increase, eCommerce businesses must adopt a mobile-first strategy to meet customer needs.
The multi-tasking shopper: A battle for attention
With consumers constantly connected to multiple online devices, retailers vying for consumer attention are not only competing with each other, but also with many other offline and digital distractions. According to the survey, the majority of consumers today are engaged in other activities while shopping. More than half of shoppers shared they make purchases while at work (57%), or doing household chores (51%). Fourty-six percent of consumers indicated they engage in ‘showrooming’, the practice of looking at the same or similar product in-store before returning online to make their purchase. A substantial number of respondents also shared they make online purchases while watching TV, indicating their attention is often split by second-screen digital activities.
Unsurprisingly, mobile shoppers are multi-tasking more than those on their desktop. With so many activities diverting the customers’ attention, online businesses need to capitalize on their window of opportunity by producing a frictionless online shopping experience.
Prices and shipping costs are top conversion deal breakers
We asked consumers to select the top reasons that influence their decision to shop at an online retailer, and four specific reasons stood out: prices, shipping, selection, and delivery time. These were the top reasons across all segments including gender, age, and monthly spend. While many eCommerce businesses invest substantially in loyalty or membership rewards programs to attract buyers, only 25% of consumers surveyed stated this would influence them to shop at an online retailer.
Online shoppers demand clear product information from retailers
To shed light on which areas of the online experience retailers need to prioritize, we asked consumers what elements they feel make for a great online shopping experience. Consistent across age, gender, and monthly spend, the top three responses revealed that customers need in-depth product information to make an online purchase. These include clear images, product reviews, and clear product descriptions — all selected by over 75% of respondents. The importance of simplicity and ease-of-use throughout the sales funnel was also highlighted, with an easy checkout process, easy search, and simple navigation selected by over 65% of consumers.
Checkout friction is a major source of frustration for shoppers
We examined the most frustrating aspects at the most critical stage of the funnel shared by both mobile and
desktop shoppers: checkout. Across devices, having to fill out the same information twice was the top choice
selected as the most frustrating part of online checkout. While results were largely consistent, this reason was shared especially amongst mobile shoppers: 63% claim having to enter the same information twice at checkout was most frustrating as compared to 53% of desktop users. Other top areas causing customer frustration include not being able to return to the previous page (47%) or change an order (43%) after arriving at checkout. With consumers’ attention span more fragmented than ever before, eCommerce businesses must eliminate any reason to abandon this critical part of the sales funnel. This means streamlining the checkout flow and simplifying this process even further for mobile users.
Shipping fees are most responsible for cart abandonment
Consumers are most likely to abandon an online shopping cart over shipping costs and other extra fees. Chosen by 77% of respondents, this was the main cause for abandoning a purchase by a wide margin. Interestingly, the common denominator shared by most of the top responses are reasons under the retailer’s control, whether they are technical issues such as website errors or promo codes not working, or policies like forcing customers to create an account in order to complete their purchase. Only 28% of consumers said they needed more time to complete a transaction.
Email is still an effective channel to bring back cart abandoners
While shopping cart abandonment remains a major issue for online retailers, the good news is that a significant majority of consumers stated they later returned to complete their purchase. The top reason indicated by consumers was simply that they were still interested in that particular product. In addition, email continues to be a very effective channel to re-engage cart abandoners. Thirty-eight percent indicated they returned to complete a transaction after getting an email offering a discount on those products, followed by 25% who simply received a reminder in their inbox.
Majority of online shoppers still compare prices
With competing offers just a click away, it’s not surprising that customers are getting savvier and comparing product prices with other sites before committing to a purchase. Thirty-eight percent of online shoppers stated they always compare prices before making a purchase, and an additional 27% said they do this often. Only 4% indicated they never compare prices.
Competitor ads on retailer websites adversely impact online brand reputation
Ads featuring competitor offers on retailer sites are damaging their brand reputation. In some cases, these ads are placed by retailers for traffic monetization. But most often, these ads are caused by Customer Journey Hijacking , a growing phenomenon where invasive promotions are injected into consumer browsers in a bid to divert visitors away to other sites. The majority of consumers stated being exposed to these ads would negatively impact their view of that retailer. Interestingly, older demographics are less tolerant of these distractions, with 50% of respondents aged 60+ stating the ads would be very likely to negatively impact their view of that retailer, compared to only 25% of shoppers aged 18-29 (see chart on next page).
Customers impacted by competing ads fear their personal data isn’t safe
For respondents who said ads would likely or very likely negatively impact their view of an online retailer, perceived risks to their privacy was the biggest concern. Also, 62% indicated that these ads suggest the customer experience is not a priority for that retail site.
Injected price comparison ads jeopardize eCommerce revenue
Widgets and other unauthorized product ads featuring price comparison offers on retailer websites present a substantial risk to eCommerce conversions. Over 55% of respondents said they are either likely or very likely to click on ads offering the same product they’re looking at for a lower price. For retailers investing resources to attract visitors to their website and offerings, this means losing hard-earned traffic to competitors. Moreover, being exposed to lower-priced product ads featured on the retail site impacts more than conversions, with 43% of consumers stating they would think the retailer’s prices were too expensive.
Older demographics are less diverted by these ads, with only 7% of respondents aged 60+ indicating they are very likely to click on these ads, compared to 17% in other age groups.
Injected price comparison ads have a lasting impact on customers that extends well beyond the first encounter. Eighty percent of the online shoppers who would purchase the product on the site that offered a lower price indicated that’s where they are more likely to return to the next time they are in the market for other products. In an already intensely competitive eCommerce landscape, retailers need to recognize that the impact of these ads go beyond conversions and can also damage longer-term business metrics such as customer lifetime value (CLV).
Product recommendation ads a multi-faceted threat to online brands
With consumers accustomed to seeing product and style comparison widgets on Amazon and many other popular marketplaces, unauthorized product recommendation ads appear legitimate to a significant percentage of site visitors. When asked why they believe they are seeing ads recommending products from other stores, 48% of consumers felt the retailer intended for those ads to appear. An additional 38% of shoppers felt these competing offers were finding their own way to appear on the site, which can harm consumer confidence and open retailers’ up to security and privacy concerns.
Consumers hold online brands accountable for deceiving redirects
Amongst the craftier types of Customer Journey Hijacking are in-text redirects that effectively hijack text links on the retailer website (e.g. sign-in or size chart links) and send the user to another website. Similar to the answers on the previous page, 49% of consumers think this is due to a bug running on the retailer’s site. Thirty-two percent believed this is intended by the eCommerce site, and a mere 7% indicated there could be a bug on their browser or device.
The findings in this report reveal the increasingly fragmented nature of today’s online shopper. Consumers have greater choice than ever before in the devices and channels they can use to browse and buy online. In parallel, however, they are dealing with more offline and digital distractions, and as a result their time and attention are more limited. This poses significant challenges to eCommerce brands looking to earn their attention and loyalty.
While retailers can’t control the offline issues, they can control the online experience. Competing successfully in such a landscape demands that organizations adopt a customercentricapproach , and stay ahead of the technological curve by implementing proven methods that make every touchpoint of their customers’ experience seamless.
It also requires protecting all that they invest into these optimization efforts — and ensuring their designed customer experience is delivered to customers free of distraction. This survey also give us visibility for the first time into the impact of Customer Journey Hijacking on brand equity and the customer experience through their eyes.
We hope the insights uncovered in this survey provide your business with a window into the contemporary online shopper and a better understanding of what influences their behavior. I encourage you to share it with your colleagues to help more precisely capture and meet your customers’ online shopping needs.