When it comes to knowing how to increase traffic and e-commerce conversion rates, having a simple online checkout process for visitors to follow will get the job done and encourage repeat buying, right? Right and wrong. Having a simple path for e-commerce conversion does not guarantee increased website traffic and revenue, nor does is decrease online cart abandonment rate. There is a lot more to the story than this very simplistic theory suggests. To understand fully, you first have to take into account consumer buying behavior.

When it comes to consumer buying behavior, only 3% of visitors purchase on an e-commerce site during one session. And once they are at the shopping cart, a staggering 71% will abandon. These are shocking numbers for someone trying to understand how to increase traffic and encourage repeat buying. A study by Forrester Research sought to understand consumer buying behavior and why consumers abandon. This is what the consumers had to say:

  • 44% – Shipping and handling costs were too high
  • 41% – I was not ready to purchase the product
  • 27% – I wanted to compare prices on other sites
  • 25% – Product price was higher than I was willing to pay
  • 24% – Just wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration

Did you notice none of the above reasons had to do with the actual checkout process? All the reasons pertain to consumer buying behavior – the consumers were either not ready or not willing to pay the final purchase price. However, 75% of shopping cart abandoners return to the abandoned site within a 28-day period, and these returning visitors are 2.3 times more likely to finish their purchase and make future purchases than first-time buyers. This is why Amazon optimizes its site for the returning customer and repeat buying, rather than for the first-time purchaser. It knows how to increase traffic and conversions by understanding consumer buying behavior.

Before you spend a lot of money revamping your checkout process, consider the following:

  1. Understand consumer buying behavior and why your customers don’t buy

Data: Collect it. Try an exit survey to pin down the reasons your customers aren’t buying.


  1. Understand what it takes to get the sale

Customers take their own path to purchase, and it can be a long one.

Browse – Abandon –Research – Ask friends – Consider – More Research – Browse – Purchase

  1. Re-engage visitors who don’t buy on the first visit

How can you gently push your visitors into becoming buyers? Develop strategies for browse abandonment, cart abandonment and new customers.

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