What Convinces Shoppers to Buy Online?

To say that everyone and their dog has shopped online isn’t too much of an exaggeration. According to a Pew Research report, 80% of Americans say they’ve shopped online, and 15% shop online every single week.

But just because most Americans are visiting online stores doesn’t mean they’re making purchases. A notable 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned, representing an estimated $4 trillion that ecommerce companies are missing out on.

We already know that poor website design can create barriers that stop consumers from buying. So, after eliminating those barriers, what more can ecommerce businesses do to get shoppers to complete their purchases? In the infographic below, we look at some of the biggest factors that influence online shopping behavior.

why do people buy online infographic

Weighing the Cost

You probably won’t be too surprised to hear that price is one of the biggest factors that affects online buyer behavior. Almost 9 out of 10 shoppers compare prices between sellers, and 65% decide whether to buy online or at a brick-and-mortar store based on who has the lowest price.

Shipping costs can be a major deterrent in the online shopping journey. A little more than half (56%) of consumers have abandoned a shopping cart because they were presented with unexpected costs at checkout. Ecommerce companies can avoid this issue and give shoppers extra incentive to purchase by offering free shipping.

Feeling Informed

While competitive pricing is important, it’s not the only thing online shoppers look at. Since they aren’t able to view ecommerce products in person, online shoppers want to gather as much relevant information as they can before making a purchase. 88% of consumers say that detailed product information is extremely important to their purchase decision, and 66% want to see at least three images of an item they’re thinking about buying. Almost all shoppers (94%) say they’ll abandon a site if they can’t easily find the information they need.

The message to online retailers should be clear: don’t skimp on the product images or descriptions. Businesses that have a large product catalog should use a site search, filters, and intuitive categories so that shoppers can quickly find what they’re looking for in their digital customer journey.

Reading the Reviews

Shoppers like to know what other people think of products, especially when they’re thinking about getting an item they’ve never purchased before. More than 4 out of 5 consumers check online ratings and reviews before buying something new. Online shoppers value the information they get from reviews much more than any ads you could show them. 84% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Ecommerce retailers should display product reviews prominently so that shoppers can feel confident about making purchases. Businesses should respond to negative reviews but shouldn’t necessarily hide those reviews from consumers. Shoppers are less likely to trust a business that displays nothing but five-star reviews.

Enjoying the Convenience

Many shoppers appreciate the convenience of being able to buy without trekking to a brick-and-mortar store…as long as they don’t have to wait too long for their new purchase to arrive. 69% of consumers say that one-day shipping is a strong enough incentive to get them to buy online, and 31% actually expect businesses to offer an expedited shipping option.

Consumers also want to face as little friction as possible when returning an item that didn’t work out. 2 out of 3 people say that free returns and exchanges could incentivize them to shop online rather than at a traditional retail location.

Getting Personalized Recommendations

When faced with a huge selection of products in an online store, shoppers can fall victim to the paradox of choice. 4 out of 10 consumers say they have left a business’s website and made a purchase somewhere else after feeling overwhelmed by an abundance of options.

The solution to this problem isn’t necessarily cutting down on product offerings: it’s catering to individual shoppers. Providing personalized recommendations based on preferences or past purchases can significantly increase the chances that a shopper will continue down the ecommerce purchase funnel.

85% of online shoppers say they’ve been influenced by personalized promotions on an ecommerce retailer’s home page, and 92% say they’ve been influenced by personalized shopping cart recommendations. On top of that, 65% of shoppers say they’re more likely to buy from a retailer who emails them relevant and personalized promotions. Everyone loves a deal that’s tailor-made for them.



Baymard Institute

Bright Local

Kibo Commerce

Pew Research Center





Walker Sands Communications

Wondering how you can get more of your site visitors to buy? Contact Leverage Marketing to learn about our web design services for ecommerce businesses. We’ll review your website and make recommendations to increase sales and streamline your ecommerce purchase funnel.

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