Skip to main content

How to Convert Browsers Into Buyers


More people are browsing ecommerce stores than ever before, but they’re not necessarily buying. Many site visitors are passively shopping from home, often while distracted or multitasking. But that doesn’t mean there’s no chance of them converting.

As an ecommerce retailer, your challenge is to guide browsers to a product that will motivate them to purchase, even when they’re not actively planning to spend. Site navigation, product arrangement, and merchandising are key to grabbing an absent-minded shopper’s attention.

Searchspring’s Mike Masten presents actionable examples of how retailers can turn browsers into buyers in this webinar. Download to find out how to drive increased conversions with:

  • Site navigation that makes it easier to narrow results to shopper preferences
  • Merchandising that highlights your most popular products and special offers
  • Recommendations that hook shoppers in with relevant suggestions


Hey everybody my name is Mike i work for uh part of the search bring team and the topic that i’m going to be covering today is how to convert browsers in to buyers


so what we’re going to talk about is the state of e-commerce more people are at home more people are online more people are browsing um we’re also going to i’m also going to define what is a browser what do they do on your website and then how to turn a browser into a buyer how to turn a passive shopper into someone who purchases something on your site


so a little bit about me i’m an avid online shopper i’ve been working for Searchspring for a little over a little over two years now but been in e-commerce for for a little longer than that i have three kids so i probably am your typical online shopper like i just don’t have time to go anywhere and especially right now um i’m at home in you know on my phone watching tv always on my phone and then searching for for products on the account development representative here and my job is i i really help uh existing customers um leverage additional features really uh is what i do and um and then we train them on it so we help them realize the things that they can actually do with it which is their superpowers and we’ll get into that later


so it’s really no surprise that more people are at home they’re buying more confidently this came from the from the census but what i would say is look at 2010 look at where it is now it’s just an upward slow moving upward trajectory um the retail space in the first quarter of this year stood at 160 billion dollars with a b um a lot of money and that is about uh two and a half percent increase from the most popular time of year which is q4 and why is that that’s when all the holidays are so that’s the most popular online shopping year but q1 actually beat the most popular time last year in the first quarter of this year estimated was growth about 15 percent more than last year


and then lastly just the first quarter sales it still accounts for a little bit more than 10 of all sales so what i would say is more people are still shopping brick and mortar traditionally but with all of the things that are happening right now more people are at home more people are multitasking that number is just going to continue to grow


and so what happened pretty much overnight the shopper changed and customers are going from buying what you would buy you know a few years ago which is mainly close now customers are buying everyday household items things that they would typically go to the store for but now they’re getting it online um us retailers year over year that growth is going up about 68 percent since mid-april and that’s surpassing just even the previous high which was about 50 and then in u.s and canada which you’ll see is um just consistent growth as well


on the the bottom right part of the screen the things that i really just wanted to highlight uh there is how the purchases were made and just think about yourself here when are you shopping online and most people are doing this while they’re at home or at work or right now that’s both um when they’re actually in the store you know think about how many times you’re in the store and then you see something that you like and then you’re just comparing your price shopping it online really quick while you’re in the store um and then the other that’s the other cool thing on that one is that uh a decent amount of those transactions were actually purchased on the website while in a retail store so i just thought that was funny


so with all this emphasis on the additional people coming that are buying online like who is a browser what what are they under traditional storefront just think of this as somebody who’s window shopping that’s that’s an old term so just think of it like that you know somebody who is just passively scrolling through websites they could be multitasking they could be watching tv they could be working but they’re generally doing something else they make up a majority of the internet traffic as well


what do they do on the site well at this point they’re not exactly looking for an exact product they just kind of have an idea so you know i’m looking for just like a men’s shirt i don’t know what men’s shirt i’m looking for i don’t know what color it is but i’m looking for a men’s shirt if the customer likes what they see you have roughly eight seconds to the customer will decide um are they going to stay on that site or are they going to continue browsing typical actions uh that are taken here is maybe they will go to a different another filter so i’m looking for a men’s shirt but now i specify the color or the size maybe they’ll see products and and sort them by popularity newness rating uh though you know think about yourself there too if you have you know if you type in men’s shirt there’s 200 men shirts you know i’m probably going load high as far as price first um and they actually that’s that’s the the point right above that um they actually convert a little bit less and they spend a little bit less because they’re not looking for anything just yet and price is the main driver


so these are typically the actions that they take on your site


so once again they give you a few seconds maybe a filter or two maybe a sort low to high in terms of price but but you have eight seconds to to really make that count and what are they looking for what is a what is the passive shopper looking for they are looking for relevant products that fit their filtering without having to be too engaged just clicking a filter let the results populate and they can focus their eyes on something else and then they come back to what it is that they’re looking for when they actually are looking at results they are then looking for reviews ratings badges banners just clear relevant information that will tell them you know how to navigate your site and then if something catches their eye that’s when they’re actually clicking on a product


and then the last thing is if they actually do click on a product you should have the the the ability or they should have the ability to purchase it so those are the things that they’re looking for something quick that catches their eye um and if they like it you know does it meet their criteria and you know then can they purchase it


so what i wanted to highlight here are just some examples of some browsing experiences that i think could be better so the first one on the top left that category is round rugs and as you can see those rugs are not round so in that instance i would think you know does does the site have round rugs what am i looking at here on the top right the information is good but there are no products above the fold that’s without having to to navigate um use your mouse to go to go down on a page so it’s great to have that information clear information and pretty pictures there but you should at least have some products and then the bottom example there are no filtering options so it’s just a bunch of bottles what if i was looking for a blue bottle i’d have to go through or what if i was looking for a bottle that was 12 ounces


so these are just some examples of some browsing experiences that i think you know could be better


in i picked an example that does the bare minimum um most of us are probably familiar with craigslist or have used craigslist before but what what do they do that that i like well they have filters on on the left hand side they have pictures they have what the price is they have a brief description um those are the things that i like about it i also like that when you click into a category those categories are relevant because they’ve already been selected by the by the person who’s selling it but what craigslist craigslist doesn’t have any stock in or any interest in is what items they are promoting or what items they’re selling i think it just goes by newest so what is driving people just to certain products what what um what can you do then i guess is the big thing what should you be doing to be more than craigslist you’re driving people to the right products that they want to see


so what can we do to turn browsers into by to buyers what can i do you know have relevant categories and relevant filters that make sense for the for the people that are coming on your site


make them functional and appealing have them be able to click multiple options have a sort is another popular thing have more than one page you’re also going to want to elevate products that you want to sell so elevating those products that give you good margins or that you have reason to sell those are the ones you want to show at the top we know through our own research maybe 85 90 of your shoppers are not gonna go to that second page of results uh so if you have multiple pages so let’s say you have you know 24 products per page and you have a hundred products that that meet this category you know they’re only going to see 25 or so of those products


so you really want to make sure that you’re showing the right ones


and then also you want to make sure that you’re leveraging ratings banners badges other styling information i’ll get into that in just a second


so you’re going to want to make your category pages relevant and functional and appealing to the browser now since those top level categories and in this instance golf drivers they’re broad in scope they’re they’re going to contain a lot of products so you want to make those filters work and be fast and also make sense you’re going to want to also show products that are newest or best selling or a combination of both or that have ratings


so consider to yourself how are you doing this right now


now elevate products that you want to sell what does that mean well i got into this a little earlier but maybe it’s sponsored products ones that give you the best margins ones that are in stock ones that meet a category or that are part of a season but you’re going to want to display those and move those to the top of the page remember only a fraction of those shoppers are ever going to get to that second page of results so it’s just really really important to show that the products that you want to sell put them front and center


you’re also going to want to leverage banners to highlight special offers you know how many times think of this as yourself too how many times do you see a sale and then that’ll that automatically you know perks up your ears and you start looking a little bit uh you know a little bit down a little further and you’re just a little bit more engaged is all i’m really getting at


my customers also will make these banners clickable links and one thing that they’ll do is you know for this 20 off tech you know banner they’ll say click here to see our last chance and it’ll take them to a whole nother page of specific things that they want to sell


some of my other customers will will do styling with swatches and badges and price lashes what i really love about this page here is mikko has told you what’s on sale what’s in stock the different colors that they have they’re also giving you information about if you if you purchase a certain number of uh or a certain dollar amount so right away the shopper just knows what to do on this page don’t make things too complicated um but yeah you should have a nice presentable page to your shoppers so here’s another thing that i would pose to you is consider to yourself how are you giving your customers information as well are you giving them banners are you giving them badges are you giving them if you’re um if you have multiple colors are you giving them colors like what are you giving them there


so the customer the browser the shopper they click on a product something caught their eye well now what well what i love here they have all of the different sizes that are in stock they also have all of the different colors you can add this to cart but the other cool thing is they also give recommendations that will go with or complement the the certain product that you’re clicking on that you’re looking at


so having power uh the product recommendations is extremely powerful um they will often turn an indecisive shopper into an active shopper because they will look at a product and that’ll make them want to click or that’ll make them want to look at that look at these shorts you know if i was looking at a shirt now i want to look at the shorts that go with it so we know that when a shopper engages with product recommendations the average order value of that purchase and the conversion rate tends to be higher and why is that well they have gone from becoming a passive shopper to an active shopper now they’re actively they’re engaged that’s when they spend a little bit more money and that’s when they convert a little higher


so remember with more and more people having confidence to shop online and having the shopping experience it is important to show relevant products to your passive shoppers right away just try to think about eight seconds try and think about yourself as well when you go on a site how much time are you going to give a website until you leave and go somewhere else you can also increase conversion rates by using banners badges ratings reviews elevating the products that you want to sell


you would leverage product recommendations you can really maximize that opportunity


and then lastly google analytics part of my job is i teach google analytics to my merchants my customers so i show them what people are doing on their site and it’s a gold mine in terms of like seeing what people are doing if there are you know common uh category pages that people are leaving exiting or bouncing you know or converting on google analytics has a slew of


information so if all else fails you don’t know what to do well contact us search spring you have a whole group of people there’s many people here that want to help um optimize your search and category pages we’ll take that information and will spit it out to the customer very fast we can also customize your entire site in terms of the way that the products are shown we can help with banners and badges and reviews and image styling and all sorts of fun stuff


we also do product recommendations so a lot of those pictures that i showed were our own recommendations we have our own reporting in conjunction with google analytics reporting so we can help you make right decisions


and we integrate with all platforms right now we’re partners with bigcommerce and shopify so it’s pretty exciting for us but not just them we integrate with everybody


and here’s what some people have said about us


i like to think that we make things easy we we have we’re friendly faces we’re people that love to help that’s that that’s probably uh the thing that that you’ll get in all of our recommendations if you look us up so i would say look us up if you want to know more