Successful E-Commerce Websites: 15 Factors Impacting Online Shopping Behavior

Let’s start with one important forecast from a recent Steel House data flash: 60% of buyers plan to spend more money via online shopping!

Taking that trend into account, I read a few surveys and articles about online shopping published since this past March. Those articles gave me the idea to work on a list of the most important criteria influencing online buyers’ behavior. In this blog post we will primarily talk about online shopping in the US, UK and Australia.

Based on Spark::red’s previous blog posts and articles published by The Big Picture, Financial Review Magazine, Market Watch, Master Card, Search Engine Land, Los Angeles Times, My Hermes, Steel House, Stibo Systems, Chain Store Age and Business Builders, online shoppers share important concerns:

1. Security

2. Price

3. Payment options

4. Navigation

5. Product description

6. Reviews

7. Check-out process

8. Images

9. Customer service

10. Personalization

11. Range of products

12. Social sharing functions

13. Page load time

14. Mobile shopping

15. Option to save product for later

A few of these criteria were discussed in older blog posts. Hence, some factors will be described more comprehensively than others;

1. Security

Security continues to be the number one concern of online buyers all over the world. According to the Los Angeles Times, 41% of US adults worry about their personal information being stolen. Also, though this percentage varies for other countries, it still stays pretty high. For instance 38% of Australian shoppers are afraid of online payment information thieves (Financial Review Magazine); for the UK that number is 42% (Stibo Systems).

How to address this concern?

Assure shoppers of their safety by doing the following:
Use SSH or other protected ways of data transferring;
Use PCI compliant hosting and complete PCI DSS certification yourself;
Have a secure online merchant account;
Post trust seals on your website;
Only ask for data necessary to complete the check-out process

2. Price

According to a survey by The Big Picture, 44% of shoppers abandon their shopping cart because of high shipping costs. At the same time, an article published by Steel House shows that free shipping and discounts are good incentives and motivators for online shoppers.

How to address this concern?

Provide clear pricing information on the product description page.
Tell people how expensive taxes and delivery fees will be before they check-out.
Let shoppers know when you have discounts or sales by emphasizing those words on the web page and showing old prices against the new product price.

3. Payment options

61% of UK shoppers make their decision about online payment methods based on security (Financial Review Magazine). According to The Big Picture website 7% of online shoppers don’t finalize their purchases because of a lack of secure payment options. Another influencing factor is convenience. For instance, online shoppers in Australia say that convenience is the biggest benefit you can get from using e-commerce websites (83.2% of respondents according Business Builders survey). If a shopper doesn’t have a MasterCard he/she definitely cannot use that payment method and will need to have another option to purchase the product.

How to address this concern?

Allow your customers to chose convenient and secure payment options, such as Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal.

4. Navigation

According to Chain Store Age, 59% of shoppers believe that easy navigation is an extremely important feature for e-commerce websites to have.

Imagine that you go to a warehouse store, and want to buy a microwave. While walking down the many aisles, you look for the sign that says ‘electronics’. If you can’t find it, you look around for a store employee to help you. If they are not around, you will probably leave that store very unsatisfied and go to another one that cares more about your time.

Online stores are structured much like physical stores. The navigation bar translates to the direction signs in the store. The search box is a helpful employee. Without those two important components there is a high possibility that customers will leave your e-commerce website for that of your competitor(s).

Easy navigation saves your customers time and energy, which is especially important in our fast-paced and highly competitive environment. Keep in mind the main reason for online shopping popularity – convenience!

How to address this concern?

Have different categories and subcategories to direct people to the product(s) they search for.
Use different fonts, colors or other techniques to emphasize the navigation bar.
Have a search box on the webpage.
Use the keywords people search for on your product description pages to further ease the search process.

5. Product description

A survey by Chain Store Age says that 42% of people shopping online value good product descriptions and 16% won’t buy from a particular website because of poor ones. When I say ‘good’ I mean detailed and accurate!

How to address this concern?

Provide detailed and accurate product descriptions. Read ‘Successful E-Commerce Websites: Product Description Page‘ for more information.

6. Reviews

44% of UK shoppers read product reviews and take them into account when deciding whether or not to buy a product (My Hermes). Also, as I mentioned in the older blog post, based on an article by Search Engine Land, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

How to address this concern?

Allow buyers to leave product reviews.
Don’t delete negative reviews, instead you should respond to them. Buyers should know that you always appreciate their opinions and you will use them to work on improving your products/services.

7. Check-out process

According to a survey by The Big Picture,11% of buyers abandon their shopping cart because of a complex check-out process. Moreover, a survey by Chain Store Age says that 57% of US shoppers mentioned easy check-out process as an important factor when making a purchase.

How to address this concern?

Minimize the number of clicks during check-out process.
Don’t ask buyers to provide unnecessary information to complete check-outs. Don’t waste their time!
Provide an option to save payment information in the customer’s profile to make the check-out process faster next time.

8. Images

42% of US buyers want to see product images on the website and 23% will not buy from an eRetailer if there is a lack of product images (Chain Store Age).

How to address this concern?

Read our archived blog post, titled ‘Successful eCommerce Websites: Product Description Page’.

9. Customer Service

Data from My Hermes website shows that 57% of UK shoppers value good customer service. Answering their questions and concerns on time and with sincerity can significantly increase sales for your business.

How to address this concern?

Provide clear contact information.
Provide 24/7 online/phone customer support.
Have enough people to handle customers’ help requests.
Have an easy-to-access data system with information about each product, customer and purchase.
Be polite and react quickly to any questions or requests from customers.

10. Personalization

Personalized promotions are another helpful feature of eCommerce websites that help to increase online sales. Based on a My Hermes survey, 32% of UK shoppers respond to promotions tailored to their specific needs.

How to address this concern?

Make sure your hosting platform provides good personalization. One of the leading eCommerce software that provides excellent personalization is Oracle/ATG Web Commerce.

11. Range of Products

Sometimes online buyers know exactly what they want and sometimes they don’t. By providing them with a wide range of products to choose from, you increase your chance of sale. Based on a Business Builders survey, 47% of Australian customers choose online shopping because of a wider range of products available online than in retail stores.

How to address this concern?

Clearly, buyers want options to choose from. For instance if you sell shoes, offer different types of the product (e.g. sneakers, boots, heels, etc.), different colors, sizes and/or brands.

12. Social Sharing Functions

Social media is an imposing force, and is still expanding. For instance, 31% of UK customers are happy to share products they like on Facebook, Google+ and other social media platforms (My Hermes). At the same time it’s a great way to spread information about your company among prospective customers for free!

How to address this concern?

Add ‘like’, ‘follow us’, and ‘share’ buttons on your eCommerce website.
Have promotions linked to followers of social media such as special discount codes.

13. Page Load Time

Slow e-commerce websites get less traffic and sell fewer products. Why? Because time is a resource that buyers value and don’t want to waste!

Based on a Business Builders survey, 44% of Australian shoppers will leave the page if it takes more than 15 seconds to load; 70% of them will leave the page if the load time takes more than 30 seconds with each second of delay decreasing customer satisfaction by 16% (https://hostingfacts.com/slow-website-infographic/).

How to address this concern?

Find a hosting provider that can sustain high traffic to your website and promises good page load time.

Use Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Don’t overload your web pages with ‘heavy’ elements (unnecessary audio, video files, etc.). It slows down load time, and makes the website harder for customers to use.

14. Mobile Shopping

53% of US shoppers say that they shop online with their mobile device (Master Card). Among the main reasons are convenience and growing availability of applications for shopping with mobile devices.

How to address this concern?

Read our archived blog posts titled ‘How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly’ and ‘Mobile Web Performance: M Dot versus Responsive Web Design‘ for more information.

15. Option to Save the Product for Later

Sometimes people find an online product they would really like to have, and they put it in their ‘cart’ intending to buy it. However, they might not have enough money/time to buy it right away or maybe they want to ask a friend’s advice about the purchase. An option to save that product on a kind of digital ‘shelf’ will allow them to come back and buy it anytime later without having to search on the website again.

A survey by The Big Picture says that 24% of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart to save products for later consideration. If you allow customers to save desired products for future purchase, it will help you to interpret your shopping cart abandonment statistics more accurately. Then you can distinguish between buyers who changed their mind about their purchase in the last moment, and those who are still planning to buy their items.

How to address this concern?

Give buyers an option to save products for later consideration. Such features as ‘Wish Lists’ also can improve your shopping cart abandonment rate.

3 Comments

  1. aveinfosys 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your info this is very useful information,this is very helpful

    Best Ecommerce Websites services

  2. robert 5 years ago

    you have mentioned all the points required for an online store success, i feel domain name should also be considered as one of the important factors in successful online website.

  3. website 2 weeks ago

    I am actually delighted to glance at this website posts which carries plenty of useful information, thanks
    for providing these kinds of statistics.

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