Demystifying Online Customer Behavior


It’s difficult to know what customers are really doing on your site, and not having access to analytics puts you at a serious disadvantage. Lost sales opportunities, failure to convert customers, and missing out on the ability to retain shoppers are issues that can be resolved with a better understanding of what influences customer behavior during the online shopping process. Leveraging Google Tag Manager into Salesforce Commerce Cloud can help you to gain insight through relevant analytics.

What online businesses think their customers want or need can be much different from what is actually true. Much like babies whose parents like to believe that their child is the cutest, many merchants feel the same about their online stores. Whether they feel like they know what’s best for shoppers, are too close to the products—or a whole host of obscured thoughts mixed with feelings—it’s best to take a moment to reflect.

Who’s the true judge of whether an online store is hitting the mark? It’s clear. It’s the customer.

If you’re not aware of what customers are doing online, then you aren’t correctly positioned to attract and retain shoppers and close the sale. It may seem like a no-brainer that the purchase flow is that a consumer finds your website, sees the products they want or need, and poof, they complete their order and SUCCESS—it’s done and everyone’s happy. We all know that this is how the true customer journey goes. The traditional “buyer decision process” perspective doesn’t go far enough in explaining what’s really at play when people shop online.

Influences on Customer Behavior Online

There are a whole host of factors at play when evaluating what influences a customer’s activity on your store. Some of these elements are within your control and others are beyond your ability to manage. A few influences that you can work with include:

Site speed: 40% of customers abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load, and a delay of just one second can cause a 7% decrease in conversions.
Design: 47% of U.S. consumers confirm that high-quality product images are the most important factor that’s used when considering to purchase rel="noopener noreferrer" a product from a brand. Eight out of 10 people were convinced by a video to make a purchase.
Reviews: There are conflicting thoughts as to whether it’s more important to have quality customer reviews or quantity, but, regardless, this is a vital offering that influences customer behavior online.
Coupons and Discounts: 59% of online shoppers will search for a promo code before making a purchase. In a recent survey, almost two-thirds of those polled admitted that a coupon or promotion is what is likely to encourage them to make a purchase if they are undecided to do so.
Issues with the Checkout Process: There are numerous issues that can be present in the checkout phase that may cause cart abandonment, and we encourage you to check out our infographic for a comprehensive list of considerations.

How to Evaluate Online Behavior

User experience (UX) analysis measures the interaction a user has with a website. This is done using techniques like A/B tests, heat maps, Google Analytics, and UX research among other methods that help to obtain a full picture of what individuals are doing on a site and how to improve any failings through the use of design, copy, marketing, or operational changes. Whether it’s determining why your bounce rates might be too high, establishing where the customer’s experience is less than impressive, looking at any barriers to conversion, or where your checkout process may be leaking sales—UX analysis is the gateway to understanding and then resolving these issues.

Knowing what customers are doing on your website and then evaluating how to make changes based on this data can feel overwhelming given that there are so many considerations at play. There’s no need to feel defeated right out of the gate as there are numerous products available designed to support your ability to both gather and act upon the information that comes from the insight you gain from these tools. You can start with one area of your site, such as Google Tags, and work towards building an effective strategy and process, and then move towards other strategies once you have a handle on this and have obtained results.

OSF Commerce has developed the only LINK cartridge to facilitate the integration between Google Tag Manager and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Customer Behavior Tracker ensures that you are able to understand your customer’s behavior and obtain advanced reporting functionalities to assist you in tracking events that relate to what products customers are viewing on your site and details on their browsing, shopping, and checkout activities. All of this data is just waiting for you to act upon it, and any changes that you may undertake can unleash incredible revenue-generating opportunities for your business.