E-Commerce Analytics Insights: What Does the Data Tell Us?
- August 6, 2013
- by Ben Wightman
On our previous blog, we looked at whether the hot summer is bad for UK e-commerce by examining Adwords and Analytics data from across our retail clients, cross-referencing daily results against UK temperature data taken from the met office website
We aggregated Analytics data from 10 retail websites (apparel, sporting goods, furniture, health & beauty) to create a sample of approximately 91,000 website visits per day over 5 weeks;
- Orange bars represent weekends
- The spike on 25th June is created by a single retailer in the data set running a price promotion
- Performance for desktop, tablet and smartphones is considered separately
- There was a downward trend in conversion rates for all devices across the time range as temperatures increased
- The higher the temperature, the more pronounced the impact on conversion rates appeared to be
- Smartphone conversion rates were the least affected
- Tablet conversion rates appeared to be the most affected, especially during weekends
- Comparing Saturday 29th June to Saturday 27th July (the last weekend in each month), Smartphone conversion rates increased by 1.5%, Desktop fell by 9% and Tablet fell by a massive 20%
Conclusion: Desktop and Tablet shoppers are less likely to convert online when temperatures soar. Shoppers using smartphones may be more likely to convert though!
Does this mean that when the sun comes out, shoppers lose interest in e-commerce websites?
To answer this question we created an index for website engagement. The index combined stats for average visits per visitor, average pages per visit and average bounce rate to determine the level of audience interest in website content, relative to temperature. Here are the results;
- Overall engagement trends remained reasonably level across the period
- Hot Saturdays saw an increase in visitor engagement via all devices
Conclusion: Exceptionally warm weather does not diminish visitor interest in website content. There was a slight increase in engagement on hot Saturdays – this, paired with a fall in conversion rates on those days, suggests a possible increase in ROPO (research online, purchase offline) behaviour. During hot weekends consumers may research more thoroughly online before heading out to enjoy the high street in the sunshine.
Does sunshine reduce the total number of website visits?
This graph shows amalgamated website visit volumes by device:
- Visit volumes trended upwards as temperatures increased
- Saturday & Sunday desktop traffic increased as temperatures increased (even though conversion rates fell)
- Tablet & Smartphone visit volumes trended upwards too, with traffic spikes tending to fall on Sundays
Conclusion: Far from deterring website traffic, improved weather actually seemed to motivate people to visit websites rather than avoid the internet. The effect is most pronounced when high temperatures coincide with a Saturday.
Is average order value affected by temperature?
This graph looks at AOV by device:
- There is no clear correlation between temperature and AOV for any device type
- On the whole AOV trends remained reasonably level (allowing for the anomaly on 25th June, where stats are influenced by one retailer’s price promotion)
The data demonstrates that as temperatures increase, e-commerce visits and website engagement levels increase, while conversion rates fall. We also know that high street footfall increases during good weather, as the British Retail Consortium reported recently:
Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “The UK High Street was busier in June, and BRC figures show that footfall has increased as we have seen shoppers take advantage of the good promotions available at the moment in stores…
“The improvement in the weather may well have contributed to this. Our recent retail sales figures showed a strong performance from fashion and footwear and it is likely that shoppers took advantage of the start of the sunshine in June to visit their local high street and buy items for their summer wardrobes.”
We can conclude this then:
When temperatures rise, so does consumer interest in shopping, however competition for online retailers also increases.
As shoppers, when the weather is hot we are more likely to consider bricks-and-mortar stores alongside e-commerce sites due to our desire to get outdoors and ‘make the most’ of UK sunshine.
Online retailers therefore need to develop hot weather strategies to counter this increase in competition…
Ideas & Recommendations
Consumers will often conduct online research before visiting the high street. Online retailers therefore have the first opportunity to impress. Consider tactics that let you take advantage of this;
- Try time sensitive website offers that end at 11am on Saturday. Can you encourage visitors to convert before they travel to shopping centres?
- If you can, offer click-and-collect and promote this service vigorously when the sun comes out. This will appeal to the consumer desire for instant gratification, while assisting footfall levels (and cross-sell opportunities) in your stores
- Running a summer sale? So is the high street. Get creative to stand out and be remembered. How about linking your discounts to the average UK temperature the day before – e.g. 25°C = 25% discount? Consumers are more likely to head to the high street when temperatures are highest, so support your conversion rates with a more powerful promotion on these days
- Stay front-of-mind for consumers who are away from their desktop & tablet computers. Consider increasing your above-the-line advertising in physical shopping locations; ad placements on billboards, public transport and car park receipts will all benefit from increased visibility during hot weather
- Power up your Smartphone campaigns – the smartphone is the shopper’s constant companion and is often used by consumers in store to compare products and prices. Consider raising your Adwords mobile bid multipliers on hot Saturdays to maximise your visibility
- Don’t forget other mobile marketing avenues too such as SMS and even email. eConsultancy reported earlier this year that 41% of emails are now opened on mobile devices; take advantage by sending your email shot on a Saturday morning and providing a mobile-optimised version too
Do you have any other clever tactics to persuade sunshine shoppers to buy online? Get in touch – we’d love to hear them!1 Comment