As a retailer, you’ve always wondered to know online consumer behavior. Indeed, if we could decipher this one crazy variable, we’d never have to worry about product mixes, pricing, and even advertising.

Unfortunately, no amount of data in the world can accurately capture the mindset of every consumer and for every product. This is why we’ve split this discussion to cover online shoppers of three kinds- those shoppers who already know what they want and visit your site, those who have a product category in mind but haven’t yet shortlisted a product, and those who are just taking a look around.

3 Effective ways to Understand Online Consumer Behavior:

Shoppers Who’ve Made Up Their Minds

When buying online, many decided shoppers have gotten to make that decision after a lot of consideration, discussion and reading reviews. At this point, there is very little you can do to change their minds. Buyers with made-up minds often visit your site to see if they can get a better deal with you than elsewhere. Can you give it to them? Some categories they buy from include electronics and gadgets, high-value items and furniture.

Hacking online consumer behavior:

Since they’ve already made up their mind, you need to sweeten the deal. Most electronics retailers are always in a constant price war- so can you offer free goodies, extended warranty, or even just a pair of good earphones to go with the new phone?

Other, more generic benefits you can offer are free shipping, returns, replacements, or all of them. If you’re selling furniture or large household appliances, you can even offer free installation and maintenance.

Primaseller Tip: If you’re selling a niche product in an online marketplace, how do you convince a decided buyer to go with you as opposed to another seller with the same product? By having great ratings, of course! A good seller rating is the culmination of impeccable customer service, timely delivery, and post-sales follow up.

Also consider how to get into the buy box. Marketplaces usually put one seller in the buy box, with all other sellers listed below.Customers usually end up buying from the seller in the box. Getting to the buy box is all about pricing right, keeping products available and impeccable customer service.

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Shoppers Who’re Yet To Decide

Sometimes, people have a broad idea of the product category they want to buy from. About 65% of online shoppers spend more than fifteen minutes of comparison shopping. Someone may want a watch. But then, they don’t know yet what attributes they want in that watch – color, the brand, the model, even which celebrity endorses it may be just some of the many things they’re keen to know. If you’re a retailer of a relevant product category, you may just be able to sway the customer your way.

Do remember that the paradox of choice is very real – when offered with an overwhelming amount of choice, an online shopper tends to click away from your site. One way to avoid this is by cataloging products into a variety of sections, so it isn’t a tedious job to keep scrolling.

Hacking online consumer behavior:

Say you’re a multi-brand online retailer for footwear. Someone wanting to take a decision has probably visited your site for information. Good information is akin to sound advice- if presented correctly, it may just give the customer faith that you know your products in and out, and that it would be a good idea to buy from you. Here’s how you can give them great information:


  • Put up high-quality pictures of the products – they must give off a classy yet candid vibe. Check out how Lavish Alice keeps the focus on the images and lets them speak for themselves.
  • Offer as much information in the description as possible. A product description for apparel and accessories needs to talk about the cut, the vibe, any feature that sets the product apart and how to style the piece. A gadget needs to keep the focus on its features.
  • Don’t muddle the site with unnecessary or irrelevant coupon codes. Say you’re offering a 20% off sitewide- no one wants to reach the checkout section to discover their product isn’t part of the promo. If you say sitewide, mean it. Else, have a separate sale page. No one has the time for Terms and Conditions.

Primaseller Tip: In this category of shoppers, creating a sense of urgency is key. You can show them messages about how they can benefit from buying within a time period, like getting extra 5% off if they buy today. Just don’t overdo it.

When an undecided customer comes to your site, make sure to collect their contact information. Even an email address is great. One way to keep them from forgetting you when they make a purchase is to keep sending periodic newsletters that are engaging and talk about your products.

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Shoppers Who’re Just ‘Passing By’

As is the case with physical stores, several people come by your site just to take a peek. Just because they’ve added products to the shopping cart doesn’t mean they’ll buy – in fact, about 80% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts. As a salesperson, it is your job to design the online experience to prompt these people to make a purchase.

Hacking online consumer behavior

  • Shipping costs are the greatest deterrent to these people. They love a product they’ve flipped by, only to discover later that shipping cost is way too high. Consider using a cheaper shipping partner.
  • As an extension to the point above, not displaying taxes and shipping fee upfront may make consumers feel cheated. They would perhaps not visit your site again. Always display a cost break-up next to the product.


  • A long checkout process and having to register to buy will put off consumers with this mindset. Remember that this is a purchase they didn’t even want to make, to begin with. Make checkout smooth and registration-free.

Primaseller Tip: In these customers, your recall value decides whether they buy from you later or not. Having great quality products is absolutely essential. But you also need to make them think of you when they think of a certain product. Getting them to subscribe to one of your active social media pages is a great way to keep popping up in their minds. Also, keep them posted about upcoming sales and discounts.

A site that loads slowly is a business that makes no money. By 2018, mobile sales will account for 30% of all online sales, and people may be accessing your site on a slow connection, and on a significantly smaller screen. Remember to keep the site very light and mobile friendly.

While there’s no way to tell which of the three kinds of online shoppers are accessing your e-store, you can implement a judicious combination of all of the above tips so all of your customers – both recurring and new – can benefit from the experience.

Let us know in the comments what steps you take to give your customers a great experience.

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