Visitors to retail e-commerce sites are most likely to be heading to online stores in order to learn, rather than to shop or buy. iPerceptions’ “Retail/E-Commerce Industry Report Q2 2009” found that 38.6% of e-commerce visitors were at the initial information-gathering phase at the top of the purchase funnel.
According to the report, visitors in the learning phase have a high level of satisfaction with the retail sites studied and more than 85% are able to complete their task. Lower down the funnel, however, sites are less likely to meet the needs of visitors.
Task completion rates dropped to 76.9% among respondents who were aiming to shop, and declined further to just 61.5% among those looking to make a purchase at the retail e-commerce sites studied.
The most common reason shoppers did not buy was the failure to find what they needed, cited by 34%. Pricing and problems with navigation or usability tied for second place, with 13% of respondents.
Considering navigation problems could prevent shoppers from finding what they are looking for, e-tailers should not ignore site design as a barrier to increased sales.
“By structuring their sites to facilitate the ability of visitors to look for (and
find) crucial decision-making information, companies can remove a major hurdle responsible for causing initially determined purchasers to eventually abandon the process altogether,” according to the report.