Fewer Snap Decisions from Online Shoppers

Window shopping is becoming as popular online as it is offline, judging from a new study by Napa, CA-based Website security certification company ScanAlert. According to the report, customers wait on average slightly more than 19 hours between their first visit to a Website and when they make a purchase. Thirty-five percent of consumers take more than 12 hours to make a buying decision, while half take more than one hour. The report tracked more than 8 million consumers visiting 140 Websites between June 2004 and March 2005.

Compared with a few years ago, according to ScanAlert, online comparison shopping has steadily increased, with consumers typically visiting many sites, loading items into shopping carts, and comparing total costs. According to the report, a consumer’s decision to purchase and length from first visit to purchase is based on price and availability, and safety and trust. Additional factors include customer demographics, brand recognition, number of online competitors, and price – the more competitors and higher the cost, the longer the decision time on average.

The report recommends online merchants create a comfortable atmosphere for comparison shoppers by making the experience more informative and making the sense of safety more “memorable” by offering saved search functionality. Doing this, the report says, can sway those who abandon their carts to return to the site later to make the purchase.