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Report reveals value of returning e-commerce shoppers

06 April 2016 - 13:52 by Simon Crisp

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People who are loyal to a particular retailer and regularly visit the same site to carry out safe shopping online are more likely to add items to their shopping baskets and make a purchase, according to a new study from Monetate.

In the final quarter of 2015, it was revealed that conversion rates in the e-commerce market hit 3.48 per cent, a slight increase from the same period in the previous year. And for customers who are returning to a site after using it in the past, that rate rises to an impressive 4.55 per cent.

Newcomers to an e-commerce outlet are less likely to commit to making a purchase, with conversion rates sitting at just 2.49 per cent for this group. But the upward trend is good news for companies that manage to convince people to keep coming back for more, rather than putting them off with clunky sites that cause them to seek solace in competitors.

Interestingly, the number of shoppers who add items to their online shopping carts follows a similar pattern, with 14.8 per cent of returning visitors choosing to do so - almost twice the 7.61 per cent rate recorded for first time visitors.

The growth of shopping online as a whole has helped to increase the likelihood that anyone who visits an e-commerce site will then add an item to the basket and, ultimately, commit to a purchase. But the vast majority of visits are still carried out by people who are simply browsing, seeking to compare prices or looking up product information rather than actively attempting to buy.

The report suggests that if retailers do more to retain existing customers, they will be able to improve growth in the long term. This means courting new customers could be less rewarding.