9 studies to change your customer behavior understanding

No matter who you are, a small Ray-Ban shop owner or a Tesla cars dealer, you are involved into customer-seller relationship. It’s not about just sell and buy, it’s about building this relationship, making it better for both sides, and you’re the party that has access to tactics and tools to develop this connection.

It’s natural that most of the online merchants don’t have time or desire to dig into the numbers. Being on the market for a certain period of time, they do what they do and have been doing before, because it brought them money. And they’re partially right because no one knows your audience and your customers better. But sometimes the unexpected numbers can dramatically change your understanding of online customer behavior, and there’s no reason you should ignore the work done by investigators or learn from others’ mistakes.

Here’s a collection of online customer behavior studies we believe every online merchant should be aware of and use in their marketing strategies. Dig in and don’t wait your competitor to do it faster!


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Customer behavior research: signup button color tests

Groove has been sharing their experience from working on customer relationship to remote team organization process, and another piece of knowledge they gave to the audience is at article about failed A/B tests.

For those who don’t like clicking links (although Groove blog is amazing and you should definitely find some time to read it):

1)      Groove conducted several A/B tests on

  • The signup button color
  • Homepage headline
  • Signup call to action text
  • Email subject line
  • Customer logos selection
  • Prices display ($15, $14.99 or $14.97)

2)      Results for the A/B tests were inconclusive. It means that neither option has won.

Inconclusive results are results as well. Your test didn’t work today. It’s also your job to find out why it happened so. Maybe your landing page is damn good, and your customer is so convinced that the color of signup button has absolutely no impact on his decision. Or he isn’t.

‘How we increased conversions by 548% with a simple test’ clickbait can’t work for all. We’ve also had some Magento A/B tests with surprising results.

Long term results and revenue don’t come from one-minute tests, e-commerce studies can optimize the results you’re getting from complex and large scale work. In other worlds, instead of squeezing another 1,2% conversion from your button, love your customer. You can’t measure or test customer happiness conversion, because it’s high as the sky.



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Customer shopping behavior: abandoning and returning

According to SeeWhy online consumer research, 99% of visitors won’t buy on their first visit to an e-commerce site. Of those who don’t buy, 25% will abandon and never return while 75% will abandon but intend to return.

At first it may look like there’s a lot of time wasters in here.  However, the bulk of abandoners – 75% – have some degree of intent to purchase and will return to the site to abandon again or purchase.

Most visitors don’t buy immediately but require a series of visits and abandons over time while considering their purchase. The more a customer visits the site and the more he buys, in general, the more he will buy in the future.

Don’t waste time on pushing the first visitor to buy, because he’s not ready. Instead focus on credibility and reasons for the customer to come back: prices, attitude, product descriptions, remarketing, and more.



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Customer shopping behavior: cart abandonment

People who abandon more than once are 2.6 times more likely to make a purchase – that’s online customer behavior reality. Recent activity, in the form of either a purchase or abandon, increases the probability of recovering a sale after shopping cart abandonment. Therefore, rethink the way that you approach abandonment.

Cart abandonment is an essential part of the purchase cycle. You can’t stop people abandoning your Magento shop, but you can integrate into this process and use abandonment cart solutions along with immediate remarketing to make your customers come back.



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Online customer behavior: people do not enjoy shopping online

According to Stratton Craig online consumer research, only 2 out of 712 people enjoy online shopping. Others don’t! Making shopping experience enjoyable has a great potential.

Here are some ideas that can help you make the shopping process more pleasant:

  • Product descriptions rich in media: professional photographs and videos mixed with text. Dark, blurred or low quality pics can be somehow informative but leave distasteful impression.
  • Shop layout. Sounds too simple, seems that everybody knows that better designed websites are, well, better. But many merchants let their so-so designs stay because people still buy stuff from this shop, and the mythic profit can’t be measured. Yeah, I know, it actually can be, but nobody cares at this point.
  • UI/UX. He-he, here’s another fundamental truth. But I can swear on my credit card you’re still underestimating user experience. Remember the last time you tried to use something that’s broken or unhandy? Right, your customers won’t continue the torture and will seek for more pleasant experience.
  • Style and tone. Savvy slogans, a little bit of wise humor, optimistic statements are welcome to be used, and your customers will be thankful for a small bit of good mood you gave them even if they bought nothing.
  • Gamification. To dig more, please read our Guide on gamification for e-commerce.
Don’t make your customers experience negative emotions while shopping. The more pleasant shopping is, the more people will be doing it. It’s even more important than you think, proved by e-commerce studies.



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As Oracle online consumer research says,

More than twice the proportion of the Oracle survey respondents said they do not want retailers to track their purchase history (42%). Customers were also almost 70% more likely to say they did not want retailers to know anything about them than to expect retailers to make recommendations based on what they had previously purchased (37% vs. 22%).

This e-commerce study was published in 2011, and 3 years are a big deal for online retail. The tendencies have been splitting: most of young Internet shoppers are used to retailers knowing more about them. At the same time, taking into consideration the latest Internet privacy news and the amount of personal or general information leaking to retailers, it’s natural that your customer may not like you know his pants size.

It’s natural to know what your customer wants. He is more likely to buy an item that he needs or come back at your store from an abandoned cart email. But if you see that all your efforts on making it (too) personal fail, maybe your audience is oppressed by the fact you know too much. Steer a middle course so your customers feel safe and get what they need at the same time.



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According to WalkerSands Reinventing Retail white paper, online consumers would be more likely to purchase products online if they were offered:

Consumers retail study: free shipping

We clearly see that free shipping is the leader when it comes to increasing sales potential. It is not easy to implement free shipping into your pricing strategy, but the study clearly shows you need at least consider this option in 2014-2015 to compete with other retailers, especially large ones.



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Online customer behavior: people buy because of discounts

According to MarketingProfs Online Consumer Psychology infographic, 57% US online shoppers who used a coupon code said that if they had not received the discount, they would not have bought the item(s).

Well, yes, The All-Consuming Epidemic and similar books attempt to educate shoppers by saying that they shouldn’t buy just because the discount is available. But we see that their attempts are not working for everyone. Lucky you!

Selling with a discount is better that not selling at all. Don’t look at discounts as something reducing your revenue. Providing your customer with a discount you earn less, but you still earn! Don’t exclude discount lovers from your audience.



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Customer shopping behavior: luxury buyers like visual

When asked how to best advertise luxury products, buyers rated video and highly graphical websites as most effective, according to Think With Google article on Google/Ipsos online customer behavior study. It doesn’t mean that luxury shoppers abandon other forms of product presentation and advertisement, but it seems they pay more attention to the visual aspect of the things around. Almost 1 in 5 luxury purchases happen online. Potential detected.

When it comes to a luxury goods website, follow in the offline stores’ footsteps: they usually choose great interiors, and luxury brands spend millions of dollars on video ads. Online shoppers often behave in a different way if compared with offline shoppers, but if you sell luxury goods, you definitely need to keep up with your offline competitors.



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Fact 1: Rich snippets give from 20% to 200% CTR increase.

Fact 2: Only 0.3% of websites use rich snippets.

Fact 3: 36.6% of Google search results include rich snippets.

A very small amount of websites use rich snippets, although top results are more likely to contain them. Taking into consideration that rich snippets are pretty much easy to install (you can use ready-made extensions for your Magento shop), you certainly don’t want underestimate the power of schema.org.

Let’s face the truth: rich snippets CAN and WILL bring you more clicks, traffic and eventually customers. These customer behavior studies show that people are clicking on enhanced search results more. If you don’t use rich snippets, your competitors are stealing your customers right now.


What’s more, when thinking about your customer’s shopping experience don’t forget about your team. Optimize the work of your admin staff with Magento track user activity extension. Monitor the team involvement and exclude overlapping to better the store performance.

We hope this collection of online consumer behavior studies improved your understanding of e-commerce shoppers psychology. Know any good studies that’ll add to this blog post? You are welcome to share your thoughts in comments.