From Browsing to Buying: How to Navigate e-commerce Shopper Behaviour

By Mila Milosavljevic, Senior Digital Research Specialist, EyeSee

It’s no secret that APAC loves e-commerce, with markets like China, Japan, South Korea, India and Indonesia ranking highly in global e-commerce activity. According to Resource Center, 54% of consumer respondents said they are currently spending significantly more money online after the pandemic. Innovations in payments, smartphone adoption rates, social media and social commerce growth, plus localised e-commerce players, have all contributed to a very vibrant scene in most of the region. Alibaba’s Singles’ Day (11.11) is generating billions of dollars in sales annually. In other words—the importance of brand presence in the ever-expanding, powerful APAC e-commerce world is undeniable.

However, picture this: typical e-commerce conversion rates hover around a modest 2.5% to 3%. That means that out of every 1,000 visitors to your website, only about 50 actually place orders. Yet, here’s the kicker—half of those potential sales slip through the cracks as visitors struggle to find what they’re looking for.

So, how can one navigate within this complex environment and invest wisely for e-commerce success and ROI? The answer lies in mastering the e-commerce category shopping experience. These insights are the secret weapons that every marketer needs before making crucial decisions.

Step 1: Unravelling Shopper Behaviour

In the physical retail world, we have clear cues like aisle entrances, brand displays, and creative brand block setups for marketers to work with. But in the vast online territory, it’s about decoding dominant browsing patterns and making the right “small” adjustments that foster big impact. Understanding e-commerce shopping behaviour involves diving deep into various KPIs and browsing patterns. This includes deciphering where shoppers start their journey on e-commerce websites—whether through search queries, menu clicks, or promotions.

Analysing search bar and common keywords usage, along with observing menu and filter preferences, reveals invaluable insights into shopper navigation and preferences. By pinpointing key touchpoints and addressing bottlenecks, retailers can streamline the shopping journey and boost conversions.

Step 2: Elevating Product Presentation

Approximately 70% of shoppers never look past the first page, and what is not seen simply cannot be considered for purchase. Being on the first page of the category list is essential. During this step, pay special attention to presence and visibility metrics, such as the average number of products viewed and clicked.

Tracking the existence of a specific brand’s items and then assessing their position and visibility in a highly competitive category list will provide guidance on how to improve the brand’s presence, and overall performance, on the e-commerce platform.

Step 3: Conquering Conversion Challenges

Solving conversion challenges requires a nuanced grasp of various factors, including the impact of positioning on visibility and consideration. Identifying key conversion drivers, (such as pricing, imagery, discounts, and tags), offers valuable insights into boosting product consideration.

Moreover, understanding the critical areas of the Product Detail Page that drive purchase decisions provides further clarity. By leveraging these insights, businesses can optimize presentations and user experiences, driving higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

Step 4: Go Deeper and Beyond E-commerce Category Shopping Experience

Gaining all the above insights related to key questions regarding shopper e-commerce experience, (such as identifying key touchpoints and addressing bottlenecks, investigating the impact of product positioning, and determining how to optimize product presentations and user experiences), is all part of the testing framework we call the E-commerce Category Shopping Experience. This is accomplished by observing behaviour on live realistic e-commerce retailer websites and utilizing an innovative mix-method approach, which includes free navigation, eye tracking, interaction tracking, and surveys.

However, this is just one of four modules from a larger testing framework called Ecommerce Shopper Insights, which on the one hand goes deeper into portraying your category online shopper, resulting in a customer profile; and on the other hand, it can provide even more detailed and specific insights about certain products through Hero Product Shopping Experience Testing and Online Pack Testing, allowing you to test all your hypotheses in context.

In Conclusion

Whether you are interested in a particular set of questions included in one module and only want to make tactical changes, or you want to gain 360-degree clarity by running full four module testing on your product’s e-commerce presence and performance, (Category Shopper, Category Shopping Experience, Hero Product, Online Pack), one thing is quite certain: your product category knowledge, product presentation insights, and customer profiling must be as strong for e-commerce as they are in bricks and mortar retail.

It is time to say goodbye to trial-and-error investing, and hello to data-driven decision-making. No more guesswork—just transparent, actionable insights to propel e-commerce success.

This article was first published in the Q2 2024 edition of Asia Research Media

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