Top Internet Retailers & Shopper Behavior

Share Button

Baymard compiled a usability benchmark of 100-checkout processes ranked by checkout user experience.The report can be accessed through the link above, and sorted by industry type or checkout types (one-step or accordion). Users from 20-58 were used to test checkout experience in 15 of the largest e-commerce sites. They discovered that 69% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts without completing the sale, and conducted an independent study to determine why.

Here’s a short list of some of the key players in e-commerce and their rank:

2 Symantec
3 Auto Zone
5 Cabela’s
8 Sears
10 Lowe’s
21 Walmart
25 Microsoft
26 Rakutan (formerly
34 Apple
39 J&R
74 Amazon

Great Expectations

Online shoppers expect their online shopping experience to be fast, not cumbersome, and when at all possible informative. They expect your e-commerce site to load lightening fast—or in the case of mobile devices, as quickly as possible— and to provide secure transactions. But those are a given now. Or are they? Many e-commerce retailers are reevaluating their systems and processes, particularly now that m-commerce (mobile application shopping) accounts for one out of every ten e-commerce dollars;[Source: Washington Post, September 8, 2014, 5 Things Every Marketer Should Know About Mobile Commerce] and what works on computing devices isn’t always  successful on tablets and smartphones.

Natural Selection

Shoppers love a huge selection. So, more is better, right? Shopping cart abandonment rates are on the rise, however, despite the increase in retailers, niche markets, and products. Is it possible there is a correlation between the number of choices available on e-commerce sites and the ability of consumers to decide?

Research in marketing and decision-making seems to indicate that consumers encountering fewer alternatives are often more pleased with their decision.  “Consumers confronting large assortments may delay or even abandon a purchase because evaluating all the viable options is overwhelming, frustrating, confusing, or too effortful.” [Source: The Discriminating Consumer: Product Proliferation and Willingness to Pay for Quality; Bertini, Wathiew, Iyengar; May 13, 2011]

Quality, Quantity, and Decision Making

Consumers treat the importance of quality as an object of learning, and accomplish it by experience, interaction with experts, or observing market outcomes. In the absence of experience or expert communication, shoppers depend entirely on observing market outcome. In the same study cited above, the authors observed, “participants presented with 27 alternatives were prepared to spend significantly less on [a product] picked from the cheapest price tier than their counterparts who were presented with 9 alternatives”. In the absence of an “explicit measure of quality” consumers will hesitate to pay for quality.

As an Internet Retailer, you can improve online shopper experience and therefore their willingness to make an immediate buying decision by providing the knowledge and information needed to ‘justify’ the purchase in the mind of the consumer. One way to enhance shopper experience is by implementing a Personal Shopping Assistant Application on your e-commerce site. A PSAA is also useful in establishing value in technical-item purchases—in effect helping to activate for the shopper a “reason” to buy and influence a willingness to pay. Using a PSAA to help cue online shoppers with context results in increased e-commerce revenue.

Case Study

Bertini, Wathiew, and Iyengar conducted a consumer experiment using a technical and generally unfamiliar product: astronomy binoculars. Following a brief explanation of how astronomy binoculars differ from general-purpose binoculars, participants were also told that prices typically range from about $100 for a basic model to over $1,000 for an advanced model.

First, we primed participants’ expectations by mentioning that the

Typical brick-and-mortar store carried a stock of 10 (40) (70) different astronomy binoculars. Next, we explained that there were no such stores in the local area but they could purchase a pair of binoculars from an online retailer that offered a selection of 25 (55) models.

Participants were further told that this retailer ranked all its products according to a proprietary quality rating collated from several reputable independent sources. This rating consisted of a single scale ranging from 1 to 100, with higher values indicating better performance. The average quality for astronomy binoculars was 60.

Participants presented with 25 binoculars perceived this assortment to be largest when they anticipated 10 models whereas participants presented with 55 binoculars perceived this assortment to be smallest when they anticipated 70 models.

Did these effects influence willingness to pay? It did.

They found that people are prepared to pay more for high-quality products and less for low-quality products when they are considered in the context of what they perceive is a dense set of alternatives. Context for the shopper’s decision-making is key.

One inescapable aspect of the contemporary marketplace is its abundance of consumer options. Bertini, Wathieu, and Iyengar provide evidence that: “Consumers confronted with a proliferation of options will sharpen their appreciation of quality, making a switch to superior products more enticing and a switch to inferior products less tolerable.” But they must have the information necessary to evaluate that quality.



Share Button

Post your comment