November 18, 2008, 12:00 AM

Half of shoppers who plan to buy on retail sites leave without purchasing

Nearly half of visitors arriving at retail web sites intending to make a purchase leave without buying, a web site usability study by iPerceptions finds.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research


Nearly half of visitors arriving at retail web sites intending to buy leave without completing a purchase, according to a new web site usability study from analytics provider iPerceptions Inc.

The study found that 16% of site visitors arrived at a site to make a purchase, but that only 52% of them actually bought something during the visit.

The aggregate task completion rate for visitors to e-commerce sites in the month of October was 68%, meaning that more than two-thirds of online visitors were able to complete their primary intended task during each visit, the study says.

The largest number of visitors to e-commerce sites cited in the study, or 47%, arrived with the primary purpose of browsing, comparing and researching products. Other motives beyond making purchases included checking prices and promotions, 11%; accessing customer service or customer support, 10% and finding a store location, 4%. Another 10% visited for such reasons as reading a blog or watching a video.

Task completion rates were highest, at 80%, for visitors seeking a store location, followed by 78% for visitors seeking pricing and promotional information, and 76% for visitors researching a product.

Site visitors were twice as likely to return to a site if they were able to complete their intended task, and 67% of these visitors retained an enhanced opinion of the online retailer’s brand while 60% reported a higher likelihood of purchasing from the same brand either online or offline.

Among visitors who did not complete their intended task, only 18% retained an enhanced brand opinion and only 14% reported an increased likelihood of buying from the same brand online or offline

The study was based on a survey of more than 50,000 web site visitors during the current quarter.




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