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Successful ecommerce is defined by the “critical first hour”

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12th Dec 2014
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Ecommerce providers looking to convert customers into buyers have a maximum of 60 minutes in which to do so, according to analysis of online shopping sessions by Monetate.

The research, conducting by tracking over 7 billion consumer journeys online, also found that sites lose 30% of all site traffic within the first 60 seconds of a session, highlighting the importance brands must place on delivering relevant content to users within the first few clicks of a website.

The Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly Report for Q3 of 2014 unearthed some interesting trends at various points within the “critical” first hour of online shopping journeys:

‘Minute zero’

The research states that during this timeframe, 77% of consumers are in “product discovery mode”, with just 18.9% visiting product detail pages, 4% placing items in checkout carts and 0.01% actually making a purchase.

Zero to 15

Nearly 52% of all purchases are made within the first 15 minutes of a shopping session, the research states, with most occurring between the fifth and eighth minute. During these first 15 minutes, 65.5% of consumers are in product discovery mode and 26.5% visit a product detail page.      

The middle 30

The middle 30 minutes of a website visit tends to be reserved for more committed shoppers, with Monetate’s research showing a gradual drop-off in site visits during this period. It states that, at this point in an average shopping session, a visitor has either “left the site, made a purchase or is a dedicated browser”.

Despite the decline in numbers, conversion rates are far higher during this timeframe, with 0.62% occurring during minutes 16-30 and 0.66% from minutes 31-45.

Final 15

68% of all purchases have been made by the 45 minute mark, however the final 15 minutes also delivers 6%  of converting shoppers, before the motivation to buy wanes. After the first hour, the research found that ecommerce sites earn just 14% of their customers.

Monetate’s data highlights the importance of ecommerce sites delivering relevant content and easy-to-use navigation, especially in light of recent research from IBM which found consumer attention spans online at an all-time low, with the average time spent on a website now hovering around the 6 minute 49 second mark.

A study from Rackspace also found that many consumers leaving ecommerce sites do so because of an overburden of choice. In fact, 34% of shoppers will give up browsing online altogether after just 10 minutes, if they can’t find what they’re looking for.

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