Stat Watch: Online Shoppers Browsing More & Buying Less

By Brett Bair, Senior Director
of Digital Marketing Insights at Monetate

As retailers continue to invest in updating their websites and mobile apps to adapt to the ever-changing preferences of today's modern consumer, current data that online shoppers are browsing more and buying less may signal their efforts are failing to align with shoppers' expectations.

Six telling retail-related statistics (seen below) emerged from Q1 2015 research conducted at Monetate:

>> At 35.25 percent, the average bounce rate was nearly 6 percentage points higher at the end of Q1 2015 than it was at the end of Q1 2014.

>> At $122.65, the average order value was down 2.5 percent year-over-year.

>> At 2.32 percent, conversion rates are down from their Q1 2014 level of 2.51 percent.

>> At 7.39 percent, add-to-cart rates are down from their Q1 2014 level of 8.31 percent.

>> Smartphone traffic now accounts for 20 percent of all ecommerce traffic. At the end of Q1 2014, smartphone traffic accounted for just 13 percent of ecommerce traffic.

>> Mobile attention spans are getting longer. Since Q1 2014, average page views per session on smartphones have jumped from 5.16 to 7.61 in the U.S.

Save for a momentary spike during the 2014 Holiday season, some of the core metrics for ecommerce success have been steadily declining (like average order values and conversion rates). The good news is that online shopping sessions are up slightly (from 2.09 product views/session in Q1 2014 to 2.28 product views/session in Q1 2015) and so is revenue. Companies are just having a more difficult time converting their customers.

Not all companies are struggling, however. Microsoft, for example, beat the industry average last quarter by incorporating product recommendations into a fully personalized experience for shoppers who recently purchased a flagship product. The landing page experience was completely overhauled to capture excitement over their new purchase, and featured a product banner and specific on-page messaging along with a product recommendation grid, resulting in a huge impact - bounce rate dropped 35 percent and add-to-cart rate rose 10 percent.

UK shoppers are converting at higher rates.

While statistics show that conversion rates are down year-over-year, online shoppers in the UK are actually converting at higher rates than they were this time last year. That goes for all devices, too.

Getting wins in areas such as average order value (AOV), bounce rate and conversion rate isn't overly difficult. The solution to improving performance with merchandising tactics and product recommendations isn't just recommending products to visitors; it's making relevant recommendations within a variety of contexts, and using all the data retailers have to make decisions about the products that are shown. The online marketing tactics that are in place are tempting shoppers enough to click and browse, but not enough to buy, which means retailers need to consider increasing product relevancy to drive ecommerce performance.