92% of first-time visitors to a brand's website do not make a purchase, survey found

By Laurie Fullerton | Freelance Writer

January 16, 2017 | 3 min read

Ninety-two percent of consumers will visit a brand's website for the first time for reasons other than making a purchase, according to a study released today by content marketing platform Episerver.

The "Reimagining Commerce" report found that of shoppers visiting a website for the first time, 45% are searching for a product or service, one-quarter are comparing prices or other variables, and more than one in ten are looking for store details.

The survey of more than 1,100 consumers points to the increasing importance of content throughout the purchase journey, as a majority of interactions with a brand's website do not end in conversion. Further, 98% of shoppers have been dissuaded from completing a purchase because of incomplete or incorrect content on a brand's website, underscoring the need for descriptive, accurate content. Additionally, a third of consumers who visit a brand's website or mobile app with the explicit intent of making a purchase rarely or never complete checkout, the report suggests.

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"The content customers see and the experiences they have while interacting with a brand online are crucial to shaping their purchasing behavior," said James Norwood, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of strategy at Episerver. "While not every consumer visiting a brand's website is there to make a purchase, brands must consider how the experience of their websites -- from navigation to checkout - supports engagement."

When consumers are prepared to make a purchase on a website or mobile app, the report found 60% go directly to the product page for the item they're looking for. Another 18% look at sale items first, and seven percent seek out customer testimonials before anything else.

The report also illuminates the increased importance of online commerce in consumers' lives, with two thirds of all shoppers responding that they plan to make more purchases online in 2017 than in 2016. And, 91% of the most frequent shoppers expect to make more online purchases in 2017, underlining the importance of delivering a seamless online experience.

"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."

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