4 Shopping Patterns for E-Retailers to Track
One positive aspect of challenging times is that marketers are more open to change, to new ways of doing things. As marketers look to fight this economy by maximizing return on investment, online retailers, in particular, have an opportunity to tap into potentially lucrative customer segments they may have overlooked. Instead of just time and money to reach customers with the most recent transactions, marketers also can focus on when customers are most likely to buy next.
In-market timing that's linked to one integrated model can guide more profitable marketing to the right target at the right time. With the rich amount of data e-retailers can collect about customers, they can better take advantage of in-market timing than store retailers. Brick-and-mortar retailers only know what individual customers bought, not how many times they came to the store without buying or how much time they spent.
Here are four key shopping patterns online retailers can track to learn when to reach customers and prospects more profitably:
- Shopping styles. Observe the shopping behaviors of customers on your site. A good portion of online shoppers conduct fairly extensive research online, for example. This may involve repeated browsing within a category or reading user-generated reviews, among other activities.
- Action indicators. Pay attention to lengthy sessions with intermittent bursts of page views. This may indicate an active shopper simultaneously viewing competitive sites. This is often a strong indicator of an impending purchase.
- "Considered" purchases. Not all consumers consider purchases as carefully. For consumers making "considered" purchases, they often come to a website, place items in the shopping cart and check out. Such customers have completed their research before and have come back to purchase. In such cases, there's little need to use marketing to persuade them to buy. However, marketing “completer” merchandise — e.g., cables, HDMI switches, etc., for a large-screen TV — to such customers, either in-session or post-purchase, can be profitable.
- Interpurchase periods. Also absorb and understand the internal patterns of individuals' past purchases. One of these patterns can be described as their “interpurchase” period: the average length of time a consumer goes between purchases. Depending on the product category, these periods can be relatively short or quite long. Most retail marketing kicks into high gear immediately after a customer has made a purchase, and gradually tapers off as time passes. For those with a longer interpurchase period, timing offers closer to their next expected purchases can provide a higher lift.