Retailers must optimise online customer purchase journey to convert sales, says study

With the explosion of smartphones and tablets, social media, and review sites, the path taken by consumers to make purchases online is no longer simple. Shoppers today have more control and options than ever before when it comes to researching, finding, and choosing a product to buy, and they’re doing so from multiple devices; according to a study by Google/Ipsos, 85% of consumers will start shopping on one device and finish on another.

How can retailers ensure they’re delivering a good shopping experience and helping consumers to complete the purchase? A new white paper, the Path to Purchase, addresses this challenge, detailing actionable steps for retailers to optimise the online consumers’ path to purchase from browsing to order confirmation.

Paving the Path to Purchase analyses each step of the path to purchase – browsing, baskets, checking out and confirming – in two sections:

  • The Path: Examines the variables leading shoppers to each step as well as the emotional factors likely to contribute to engagement or abandonment.
  • The Pavement: Outlines actions and best practices for retailers to maximise marketing efforts to meet shoppers’ needs and guide them toward making a purchase.   

“Shoppers experience a wide range of emotions as they move along each step of the path to purchase, including the fun and excitement of discovery during the early stages as well as anxiety and indecision that can set in during the basket and checking out process,” said Jim Davidson, Bronto’s manager of marketing research.

“Our aim in partnering with MarketLive to produce this white paper is to provide the insights marketers need to take advantage of every opportunity to help shoppers make informed decisions and move toward check out and order confirmation with the satisfaction of having had an enjoyable and engaging shopping experience.”

The white paper also includes examples of retailer product page techniques, online lookbooks, wish lists, product page abandonment and shopping basket abandonment email reminders to illustrate best practices to implement and missteps to avoid along the path to purchase. Bronto and MarketLive provide actionable strategies and expert insights for streamlining the check-out process as well as proven methods to ease last minute “sticker shock” anxiety once the basket contents and delivery charges are revealed.

Ken Burke, founder and chairman of MarketLive, said: “Our deep partnership and technology integration with Bronto allows us to combine our e-commerce platform and analytics (order history, buying patterns, basket abandonment, etc.) with Bronto’s ability to use data to optimise segmentation, targeting and promotions to increase conversion along the path to purchase. These techniques are clearly illustrated in this whitepaper.”

The white paper examines the final step in the purchase process and provides marketers with tips for maintaining a visually rich and dynamic shopping experience as communications transition from promotions to the customer service components of order processing and shipping arrival details. Even at this stage, there are still opportunities for retailers to engage shoppers with their brand and relevant promotions. “Paving the Path to Purchase” is available for download at