When it comes to e-commerce, less than half of customer purchases are made within the first hour of browsing. This means that increasingly, online retailers are advised to help customers pick up where they left off, even if that means they’ve switched to their work computer after browsing on their phone during the morning commute.
The fancy phrase for this is “cross-device reconciliation” and it’s the natural next step in the progress toward personalization in e-commerce. That’s according to recent research from experience marketing platform Monetate, which studied seven billion online shopping sessions in the first quarter of 2016. The report, issued today, states that more than half of shoppers “spend a lot of time, in a lot of different places, on a lot of different devices before they come back and buy what first caught their eye.”
The Monetate E-commerce Quarterly studied purchase-time data and found that after that first hour, during which 42 percent of purchases happened, the time of purchase varied. Sixteen percent of purchases happened one day later, while 9 percent happened in the next six hours and 5 percent happened almost two days later.
Ninety percent of customers used a desktop to begin shopping online and 91 percent of them completed their purchase on the desktop. Unsurprisingly, the most popular usage of desktop shopping was during the workday. For mobile devices and tablets, up to 45 percent of page views took place during commuting hours, early mornings and late nights, with mobile devices leading in the morning and tablets at night.
What was surprising was that despite a seemingly unstoppable migration toward mobile shopping, Monetate advised retailers to push mobile browsers to their desktops, in addition to trying to keep desktop browsers where they are. The reasoning? Desktop page views per session are 33 percent higher than mobile and the average order value on a desktop is 46 percent higher than it is on mobile devices.
What’s more, although the first device that is used is generally the device that completes the purchase, this is most true for desktop shopping: when browsing starts on a desktop, 99 percent of those purchases also happen on a desktop. That’s compared to 64 percent for mobile devices and 84 percent of purchases on a tablet.
The fact that customers often don’t make a purchase within the first hour of online shopping, said Monetate president and chief executive Lucinda Duncalfe, “is incredibly important for brands to understand.” It’s critical, Duncalfe said, “that brands ensure a customer’s shopping experience picks up where it left off, no matter the time or device.”