Your customer’s online shopping process may be totally different from what you expected. I compiled a list of stats and research to shed some light on how people are actually shopping online. Let’s dive in!


1. 53% of shoppers wait for sales/promotions

A recent study indicated that 53% of shoppers are likely to wait for a sale before purchasing. However, for many people, it depends on the situation and needs. Item’s that aren’t a necessity are more likely to be purchased during a sale. Let’s look at some real-world examples of what shoppers think about waiting for sales:


“If it is likely that there is going to be a sale in the store soon, then yes, I will wait for it. If there is ever anything that I need, the first thing that I stop to think about is whether I am able to afford it, and whether I really need it. Unless I actually need something rather than just wanting it, I will not ever bother to buy it, because I see it as a waste of money most of the time…” – Gemma Rowlands on DontPayFull


“Once in a blue moon (most likely with season changes), I will scan the collection of places I like to shop. I will then note what pieces I love.

Months later, there will be a sale — guaranteed. I will normally get wonderful pieces for up to 50% off just by being patient. It helps to get emails so you’re not waiting around for a sale to happen and losing time.”Joy Latelle On Quora


“The problem, for me at least, with waiting for sales is that everything is cheaper and i end up ordering/buying more because other stuff is cheap too. When it arrives I try everything on and return 2/3 of the purchases because I didn’t really want them after all. I only bought it just in case I need it, or if I lose weight, or if i suddenly get that interview that I am hoping to get etc.” AppleKiwis7 on Reddit


2. 40% of shoppers like to build a wishlist

Many shoppers enjoy building a wishlist of products that they plan on buying in the future or perhaps receive as a gift. Google recently published a stat that 40% of shoppers want retailers to offer a wishlist where they can save items they’re interested in.

Shoppers enjoy using a wishlist to bookmark items they might like to buy in the future. If you’re store doesn’t offer a wishlist, your users may still be making wishlists on Pinterest. A recent case study from a developer who was working on improving the wishlist for ADDIDAS and REEBOK asked people what they enjoy about using wishlists. Here’s what they said:

Three main reasons a wishlist is used:

  1. Save items for later so that users will not forget what items they have looked at in the past
  2. Keep track of items that they would like to purchase, but cannot afford at the time
  3. Create a list for a special event such as a holiday or birthday


3. 66% of shoppers check Amazon first

Studies have shown that Amazon dominates the product research process. Many shoppers start and end their shopping journey on Amazon. As an independent retailer that wants to sell on their own website, you need to be conscious of what the competition is up to on Amazon.

“Amazon is the go-to destination for search and purchase: Two-thirds of consumers (66 percent) typically start their search for new products on Amazon, and nearly all (95 percent) are satisfied with Amazon search results. When consumers are ready to buy a specific product, nearly three-fourths (74 percent) go to Amazon to do so.”

So basically, more than half of online shoppers start their product research on Amazon, almost everyone is happy with the products they find and 3/4 of shoppers end up buying on Amazon. That’s some serious competition.

It’s safe to assume that if you sell a product that people would search Google or Amazon to find, you’re going to get cross-shopped with Amazon’s search results. If your shoppers can get the same or a similar product from amazon at the same price, or perhaps faster/cheaper shipping, they are going to be seriously considering it.


4. 60% of customers look for coupons before buying

A study by Statistia showed that 60% of consumers will look for coupons of an unfamiliar digital retailer before making a purchase. Searching for coupons is as common in a customer’s vetting process as Googling you and checking out your online presence.

A different study also indicated that about 93% of shoppers use a coupon or discount code throughout the year. They also found that seven out of ten people reported using an emailed discount in the previous week. Another study also found that 46% of shoppers will abandon their cart if their coupon doesn’t work.

So basically, coupons might be a seriously underlooked part of your customer’s buyer journey. Not only do new shoppers vet your store based on the availability of coupons offered online, but they also frequently use coupons and expect to be emailed coupons from time to time.

I’ve never been a big promoter of coupons. But I now think it’s an overlooked and important part of the shopping journey that deserves some attention.


5.  96% of shoppers compare prices

A survey by Wiser found that 96% of respondents planned on price shopping before making a purchase. So basically everyone price shops. The same study found that 66% of people start by doing a Google search for the product to see if they can get a better price for a similar product. Another study found that shoppers visit 3 websites before making a purchase. Your products need to stand up to the price comparison that most of your customers will do, otherwise, you could be giving a sale straight to a competitor.

This isn’t exclusively the price of a single product, but also the total price of the cart. For example, a shopper may find that their $100 purchase goes further on a competitor’s site because they offer free shipping on orders over $50 and they found a 10% off coupon online.

If you’re seeing a lot of competition selling the same products for similar or lower prices, you don’t necessarily need to decrease your prices, you just need to increase your product’s value. See the takeaways below for more details on that.


6. 69% of shoppers abandon their carts

A shopper abandoning their cart is quite common for online shopping. Research shows that the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69.57 percent. Shoppers will exit your store at check-out for a lot of different reasons. Here’s the top four:

  1. Extra costs at checkout
  2. Being Forced to create an account
  3. Having to wait 3 seconds or more for a page to load
  4. People are just shopping for fun

#4 is interesting. The pandemic has caused people to window shop online for fun. Adding products to carts with no intention of buying them has become a way for people to pass the time, and it could be affecting your check-out abandonment rate.

There are tons of great studies and stats on check-out abandonment, as an independent retailer, you should be looking at all the reasons people don’t complete their check-out and planning ways to improve on things that may be impacting your sales. Find which of these problems your store has. For example, maybe you add shipping costs, or the check-out page takes 4+ seconds to load. Optimizing your check-out process can significantly increase conversions and get you more sales and revenue.



1. Find a healthy balance with sales and promotions

Shoppers expect sales and promotions. They know things go on sale on certain days and many of your shoppers may be choosing to wait until a sale happens. It’s important to find a balance between participating in sales and promotions, while not training your customers to wait for them.


2. Encourage wish list building

Many shoppers enjoy using wishlists. If adding a wishlist to your store fits your brand, try it out. Adding a wishlist opens the door to some new possibilities like retargeting shoppers who added an item to their wishlist recently.


3. Ensure your store communicates value

If you can’t compete on price, you need to compete on value. People buy things when perceived value and gain exceeds perceived risk and loss. Ensure your site and especially product pages clearly build value about your product as well as your brand and any perks you offer. Help make your shoppers confident that your store is the best value for their dollars.


4. Control your coupons

A surprising amount of your customer base is likely already searching for coupons to vet you as well as to find deals before purchasing. If you don’t put effort into a coupon strategy you might find that coupon sites have collected old and outdated coupons that don’t work anymore, leaving shoppers disappointed. Control your coupon strategy, have a coupon that is intentionally designed to be found online on coupon sites as a marketing tactic. Coupon sites can also be a great source of backlinks, which cab improve your SEO.


5. Check your prices

Price shop the items in your store. Are there better deals on Amazon? Do your competitors offer deals that you don’t? Markets change frequently and competition is increasing, your pricing may need to change to keep up with competitors.


6. Recover abandoned carts

Abandoned cart emails have become very common in the Ecommerce world. If you don’t already have a tool set up to send out abandoned cart recovery emails, it’s definitely time to look into it. You can also consider remarketing to users who added products to their cart but didn’t purchase, these users almost bought and the ROI on cart recovery ads is often fantastic.