Online shopping journeys with seven interactions produce the healthiest sale, according to new research from digital marketing agency R.O.EYE.

110,099 individual sales worth £9.2 million were analysed over a period of 11 months across multiple UK retailers and financial services brands, tracking shopping journeys from first measurable awareness to last click.

The data found that seven interactions encompassing eight different channels - Google Adwords, organic search, affiliates, display ads, blogs and forums, email campaigns, Facebook and direct to site - produced an average order value of £132, compared with one (£69) three (£92) and 11 (£129).

On average, consumers made three interactions when purchasing online.

When looking at all interactions and resulting sales, the highest number of transactions - 51,081 - were from shoppers who interacted only once, going direct to their chosen retailer’s website via a search engine. However, average order value was worth nearly half that of shoppers who interacted the maximum 11 times before purchasing. 11 interactions across all channels saw 86% higher average order values.

Overall, sales that had more than one interaction yielded 25% higher average order values.

R.O.EYE’s ‘Value of the purchase consideration cycle’ study showed that shoppers looking to make major purchases such as furniture spent the longest time online, an average of one hour and three minutes, while those buying insurance took the least, taking 22 minutes.

Purchases relating to hobbies such as photography and cycling involved lengthy online consideration, with shopping journeys taking between 35 and 60 minutes.

Organic search, Google Adwords and direct to site were the most popular channels for researching products.

Mark Kuhillow, founder of R.O.EYE, said: “Our research highlights consumer behaviour and the actions retailers could be taking to engage them more throughout the shopping journey.

“We found journeys with seven or more interactions generate a similar higher value of sales. The study also indicates that social media contributes to the success of transactions. When observed on days where Facebook campaigns were running, as sales peaked, the number of transactions involving Facebook also peaked.”

Research showed Google Adwords was the most popular first-click channel of the eight that were measured, whether a shopper performed one or more interactions before making a purchase, accounting for 42% and 45% of transactions respectively.

When interacting with multiple channels, organic search was the second most frequently used entry point (22%), followed by direct to site (15%), affiliates (9%) and blogs and forums (4%).

The top last-click channel was also Google Adwords, which was used across a third of transactions analysed. Affiliates were responsible for completing 22% of sales, while direct to site represented 18% of all final clicks. Organic search (15%) and blogs and forums (8%) took fourth and fifth place.

Findings revealed that affiliate, direct to site and blogs and forums were the most valuable conversion channels away from first or last click. For shopping journeys with four or more interactions, affiliate and direct to site became the most popular ways to re-engage customers in between steps.

While use of channels aside from affiliate and direct declined from step three onwards, blogs and forums remained a steady, if smaller contributor to the sales process, helping encourage shoppers towards the final sale.


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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