How to reduce the activation time of a purchase e-commerce?

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By Margot Bonhomme, Marketing Manager @Botfuel

September 22, 2020

There are many obstacles which may prevent a purchase on e-commerce websites. From the inability to test the product, delivery costs, return policy, means of payment, lack of confidence, etc. Cart abandonment rates continue to grow year after year, today reaching 75.9%.

A study on French consumers demonstrated they are quite hesitant to make a purchase. They sometimes take several days to buy… but not always. This “activation time” can be reduced through various conversational campaigns. Below we take a deep dive into the topic.

Consumers are slow to choose

Online purchases aren’t impulse buying. Customers often think a long time before making a decision: a minority of online purchases are made within half an hour of the customer entering an online store.

How long does it really take for a customer to decide to buy a product?

A study carried out on American and British customers estimates the average time required for the purchasing process at 3 hours.

  • 70% of customers finalised their purchase within an hour,
  • 9% waited between 1 hour and 7 hours to make a purchase,
  • 16% of customers took between 19 and 25 hours,
  • 5% finalised their purchase after 42-48 hours.

What reasons are behind the length of the buying process online?

  • A majority of customers compare different websites to find the best deal. Thus, they come back several times and take their time to make a purchase.
  • A majority of transactions are now cross-device, that is, they begin on one device and end on another: many Internet users continue to look and compare on their mobile before buying on desktop. Over 45% of transactions are done on at least two devices.

How to reduce the activation time with conversational marketing?

Consumers should be accompanied in their purchasing journey, in order to be better guided and improve their experience. Setting up a conversational strategy enables this. Here are a few different possibilities :

Welcoming your visitors

First impressions affect the purchasing journey and will largely determine whether the visitor stays on your site. Half of them are visiting your website for the first time. They are unfamiliar with your brand. From your brand image and the construction of your website, the history of the company, the concept, how it works... everything will influence your visitors.

You can also ask them what they are looking for. For example, as a cosmetics brand: a new visitor lands on your website through the homepage and begins to scroll. Greet him with a welcome message and ask him about the reason for his visit. Are they looking for makeup? Perfume? Skin product? Perhaps a gift? Say this visitor tells you that they’re looking for makeup. Take him to your makeup category page and refine the search. Are they looking for eye makeup? Lipsticks ? Foundation? If this person answers lipstick, take them directly to this product page.

Instead of searching through your entire product catalogue, your visitor arrived, in two clicks, was hooked and on the appropriate page, through minimal effort.

Making product selection easier through a shopping assistant

Your customers have a lot of information to process on your website. Oftentime, visitors feel overwhelmed by too many product choices.
In store, if they have a question, they can ask a sales associate. But how do you replicate this online? A chatbot allows you to answer generic questions. By opting for a Shopping Assistant, you can replicate the in-store experience. Contextualizing the purchase by focusing on the reasons and the intended use, and thus, interacts with the visitor and guides them during their research.

In addition, visitors place special emphasis on finding information and evaluating the various options available. By answering specific questions about their needs, your shopping assistant, connected to your product feed, will be able to recommend suitable products. By giving information and choices in a quick and easy way, you save them time.

Responding to visitors' doubts

The majority of visitors have the same questions. This is why all brands now have an FAQ on their website. Did you know that among those questions, 5 systematically emerge:

  • How to place an order;
  • How to get delivered and the associated shipping costs;
  • How to cancel an order;
  • How to exchange or get a refund for an item;
  • How to offer a gift card;

Unfortunately FAQs are often difficult to navigate. It can sometimes be tedious to find the desired answer. This is why we recommend you analyze your most frequently consulted questions. Thus, when your new visitors arrive on your FAQ or cart page, you can first propose them these different questions via your shopping assistant, for a better customer experience.

Highlight opinions

In order to gain the trust of your visitors, highlight your customer reviews. They greatly influence purchases. Over 82% of Internet users consult them and give them weight4. when in a purchasing situation. An example of this, when visitors spend a considerable length of time on a product page, use your shopping assistant to display the best customer reviews. Best practice is to also include a CTA to add the item directly to their cart.

Betting on seasonality

Is your business subject to seasonality? Showcase a selection of products to help consumers adapt quickly. When they arrive, let them know what products are now available and invite them to see the current bestsellers. You can also highlight the current collection.

Encourage purchase

The visitor has added items to their cart and then stopped. This might have happened for different reasons: comparison with other websites, cart abandonment, looking for additional information... Inactive for some time, you can reactivate him or her on their next visit. Give them an incentive, such as free shipping or a discount on the order, in the form of a fixed-term, short-term promo code. They will feel privileged, and will also be more inclined to finalize the purchase. Making your promo code time-constrained (valid for 30 minutes) can also be an effective way to reduce the activation time of a purchase.


Sources : 1. Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly Report 2016 - 2. Criteo - 3. ShopAlike - 4. Performics Social Highlights 3 study

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