It’s estimated that we each spend an hour a day shopping online. While the figure is significant, it doesn’t reveal much about how that time is being spent or whether there is a correlation between time spent and money spent. We don’t really know for sure if time and money track one another and if they do whether it’s in the same direction or opposite directions.
What we do know though is that consumers’ time is becoming scarcer, we have more demands put upon us and there are more entertainment options to entice us than ever before. As such, the way we spend time and who with has to become a more considered decision.
So here are some steps eCommerce owners can take to optimize the time customer spends on their website:
1. Consider what kind of experience
customers want from your site
It’s vital to have an objective view of what customers want from your site. There are some goods and products with which customers have a transactional relationship and the experience is one of pure necessity – in this case they are likely to want their entire visit to be as efficient as possible. On the other hand, for some retailers, there’s an opportunity to make the online shopping experience a pleasurable or entertaining one, in which case there’s merit in serving up engaging content that customers value and that keeps them browsing for longer.
In both cases though, retailers must identify all occasions in the journey where customers might want to have a swifter, frictionless experience, such as during navigation and checkout.
Don’t assume that keeping customers for longer is leading to a purchase.
2. Map the customer journey by time
With just under eight minutes to make a sale, retailers need to know where that time is being spent. Obviously, the eight minutes doesn’t apply to everyone, so firstly establish your average visit time. Then start tracking how this time breaks down.
Once you know where customers are currently spending their time, you can evaluate this against what you know about their desired experience: are the chunks of time throughout the journey happy dwell time where customers are indulging in something valuable, or are these moments of frustration, where there are barriers delaying customers from getting where they want to be next?
This process will likely reveal some unexpected findings and it should prompt some introspection of whether the current journey is reflective of what customers really want.
3. Review basket abandonment rates
Once you know the customer journey by time, it’s important to map this against behavioral data. You will be able to see whether the suspected points of friction are leading to actual site or basket abandonment.
Some basket abandonment is to be expected but when the numbers are between 60% and 80% of all baskets then evidently there is a strong reason to look at whether a faster checkout process for customers would bring down this number.
4. Cut down the checkout process
The European children’s clothing retailer which was losing 61% of purchases from the start of the checkout process addressed the issue by offering a faster checkout through Login and Pay with Amazon. The number of customers who continued with their purchase was significantly higher with 25% more sales completed.
Login and Pay with Amazon lets shoppers sign into websites using their existing Amazon account information. They can then access all of their existing delivery and payment data easily and securely eliminating the need to re-enter this data. This can shorten the checkout process by two thirds – a really significant time saving for customers.
Understand how customers judge the time they are spending with you and how that changes throughout the shopping journey. Look at attitudes at each stage and therefore the time they are willing to invest. This will allow you to create and place richer content at moments in time when customers might want to dwell and remove barriers and blockages at moments when they don’t.
The ecommerce businesses that recognise the value of customers’ time and use it effectively for mutual benefit should be the ones that customers gravitate towards and stay loyal to.