E-commerce: How to Leverage Time Planning Styles to Drive Customers to the Web
As human beings, it’s only natural that we each develop our own methods of organizing our daily activities, from work to play to everything in between. Researchers have postulated that there are two distinct types of time planners, with most of us existing in a continuum somewhere between these two types.
In the recent report, “Pleasure or Utility? Time Planning Style and Web Usage Behaviors,” marketing academics from the University of Western Ontario, University of Missouri-Columbia and Quinnipiac University defined those types and how Web merchants, once they define their own customers, can capitalize on each type to drive sales to their sites.
* Highly analytic time planners imagine their schedules in terms of small, discrete time units and often keep strict account of their time. They pre-allocate future free time far in advance of actual activity, the report’s authors note. As a result, these planners tend to choose activities that are easily quantifiable. For instance, they’ll rarely waste time searching a Web site that doesn’t provide fast, accurate and consistent results.
Analytic planners may even be turned off by the flashy graphics and animations that detract from their “seek and obtain” Web shopping strategy. “Given a more straightforward approach to accessing information and performing online transactions, analytic planners may find more value on a particular Web site and even plan to spend more time there,” the researchers write.
* Spontaneous time planners are loose and unstructured with their time, often seeking distractions on the road toward their ultimate goals. These planners are motivated by the pleasure an experience provides, rather than the goal of the experience itself, the report notes. If these planners are your customers, encourage exploratory behavior by making your site as thoroughly engaging as possible, with entertaining images and social networking opportunities.
* Consumers that fall between these two extremes are harder to serve with a one-size-fits-all solution. If in communicating with your customers you don’t find them specifically analytic or spontaneous, the researchers recommend creating and encouraging customers to use online profiles. The profile could be set by the user, meaning the consumer customizes his own experience based on his preferences, or the site could be designed to gauge their behavior over time and provide a personalized experience. The end result in either case is a one-of-a-kind shopping experience that drives customers to shop again and again.