New Survey Reveals Why Consumers Make Their First Visits to Brand Websites

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Marketing ResearchUnderstanding consumer behavior is an important part of running a successful business. Understanding what motivates customer to visit a site, what are they planning to do while browsing the site, and so on, are valuable questions that can guide everything from marketing campaigns to sales strategies. A recent study shows why consumers make their initial trip to a site, and how marketers can use that to their advantage.

Many business owners and marketers pour over their website metrics like conversion rates, time on page, total page views, and others to determine the effectiveness of the marketing. Anyone who has spent time looking at these numbers knows that often, only a relatively small portion of people who visit a site will make a purchase during a given visit. This isn’t necessarily a sign of a bad site. New research suggests that most people are only browsing when they first visit a brand’s website.

Episerver’s survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that nine out of 10 (92 percent) said they visit a brand’s website for the first time for reasons other than to make a purchase. Just under half (45% percent) said the primary reason for their first visit to a website during product discovery (i.e. searching for new products).

Similarly, about a quarter of the surveyed said they were carrying out price comparison during the initial visit. And more than 1 in 10 will be visiting to find details about the store.

All of these reasons for the initial visit to a brand’s website show that immediately busing something is rarely on the mind of consumers when they first come to a site. Vicariously, marketers can learn two more things from this information. First, it shows that a site needs to usable enough and the prices fair enough that consumers come back. Also, it’s a reminder to not freak out immediately at low conversion rates when a site first launches, since it will take multiple visits before some consumers are ready to buy.

Episerver suggested that business owners and marketers use this information to improve their content marketing and website usability.

“What shoppers see on a website or mobile app, and how it is delivered to them, can make or break their final decision to make a purchase,” said Ed Kennedy, senior director, commerce at Episerver. “Consumers expect the content they’re shown to be relevant, accurate and, increasingly, customized to their preferences and location. To compete in 2017, strong content is no longer negotiable.”

Besides the fact that consumers often don’t buy on their first trip to a retail website, the survey offered valuable information on what consumers are doing on website when they are ready to make a purchase from an online retailer.

According to one summary of the report, “Of those consumers who intend to make a purchase online, 60% go directly to the product page for the item they are looking for, found the survey. Another 18% look at sales items first and 7% look for customer testimonials before anything else.”

For more new research that can help business owners create better marketing experiences, read this article on how mobile and SEO marketing led to major sales increases during the 2016 holiday season.

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