The UK’s most decisive online shoppers

Search Labs


Analytics and Data Science

Whether you believe the high street is on its last legs or not, there’s no denying that the way we shop has dramatically changed over the last few decades. There was a time when buying through the internet was considered a risk; now, it’s widely regarded as the norm and new advances like shopping through voice search are trickling in.

The platforms we purchase on may have evolved, but the customer journey has remained the same however they prefer to buy; in the end, we can still boil down the shopping experience to a very simple, binary choice: to purchase, or not to purchase.

We know that there are ways to influence this choice online; creating a solid user experience, messages of urgency, deals and discounts… Using analytics and data science makes it easier than ever to help us understand customers, shedding some light on how and why they make decisions. Having clients across multiple sectors, we were interested to see whether the decisiveness of consumers varied across the different industries and have analysed some of our clients’ data to find this out.

Utilising Google’s data

We used Google Data Studio to pull Google Analytics 360 data from five of our B2C clients’ websites, specifically looking at the number of days that passed between a customer first visiting a product page and then making a transaction. The number of days varied from 0 to 157 – which highlights just how different the customer journey can be! While this metric isn’t perfect, it does give us some indication of how quickly customers are making decisions online – i.e. if a user converts on the same day they view a product or service, we can assume they are more decisive than a customer who takes one, two or 157 days to do so.

Industry trends

We were able to break down the data to identify whether decisiveness varied by industry, analysing over three million transactions from five e-commerce businesses in five different industries made between January 1st and December 31st, 2018. The industries were women’s fashion, footwear, home furnishings, travel, and sporting goods. While we used real transactions, we have anonymised the data to protect our clients.

We looked primarily at the percentage of customers who purchased on the same day that they viewed a product, and then looked at the 20 cities with the highest combined number of sessions across our data set to ensure we had a good data set for each location and industry. We then used this data to calculate an overall average for each industry.

With 77% of users converting on the same day, sporting goods customers were the most decisive of those we analysed. Travel customers are the most considered, with just 50% of customers completing a transaction on the same day they view a service. By looking at a wide range of different services, we were able to see trends within each industry, as well as give a good indication of overall shopping habits by location.

Location data

We wanted to know whether purchase behaviour differed across the UK.

To do this, we combined industry data to get an average percentage of shoppers who buy on the same day they first visit a site in each location.

The city with the most decisive shoppers is Manchester; 74% of Mancunian shoppers made a transaction on the same day they visited a product page online, followed closely by Glaswegians (73%). Residents of Bristol (73%), Edinburgh (72%) and Southampton (72%) all made the top five.

Just 61% of the capital purchased on day one, making London the least decisive city.

What does it mean?

There are countless factors that affect a customer’s journey through the conversion funnel. The number of ‘days until a transaction’ is just one metric we can use to measure a customer’s level of decisiveness. While this measurement gives us an indication of behaviour just before a transaction, we’re always looking for new insights. With a more defined focus on data science and further integration of all of our digital marketing efforts, this year we’ll be working with all of our clients to understand how they can work with the customer journey to increase their transactions.

How decisive are you online? Are you a one-click purchaser, or do you play the long game? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @searchlabs.

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