Guest Column | November 5, 2020

3 Tactics To Turn Passive Browsers Into Buyers And Capitalize On The eCommerce Boom

By Mike Masten, Customer Success Manager, Searchspring

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As the pandemic upended the retail industry and accelerated the eCommerce landscape by 10 years in just 90 days, it fundamentally changed the way consumers shop, and think about shopping. Millions of homebodies worldwide were forced to adapt to a new shopping lifestyle, yielding online retailers a new lifeline with 146% growth in all online retail orders as of April 2020.

As we look into strategies online merchants can implement to leverage this unprecedented momentum, we must not ignore the elephant in the room, a number we know all too well: 98% of shoppers visiting a website either leave their cart empty, or worse, abandoned.

You’re back at square one and have spent all this time and money on driving traffic to your website, yet you can’t seem to convert passive browsers into buyers. With limitless options at their fingertips, shoppers’ expectations are at a historic high, while their attention span is minimal. More than ever before, passive buyers are distracted, or multitasking, and make up the majority of your core audience. According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, it takes about .05 seconds for users to form an opinion of your brand once they’ve landed on your page, an unforgiving statistic.

I’ve listed our company’s actionable steps to optimize a shopper’s experience, catch their eye quickly, and consequently boost your conversion rates.

1. Give Your Site Navigation A Facelift

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Your website’s navigation plays a leading role in conversion rates and sales. Customers who aren’t able to find, or filter through what they want will find it elsewhere. It shouldn’t take a shopper more than a handful of clicks to narrow down their search to their product of choice. You can make this online experience for your shoppers swift and easy by optimizing your site navigation.

The faceting options you can add to your eCommerce navigation are nearly limitless. This practical tool will give shoppers the power to sort and filter through product results based on the criteria that matter to them. Display grid boxes, palette options, sliders, and more as facets, and ensure relevancy with dynamic controls and customization. Easy to find products lead to happy browsers turned buyers.

2. Recommendations That Hook Shoppers In With Relevant Suggestions

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Browsing shoppers are often indecisive. Product recommendations can prevent them from bouncing from your site to another when they don’t find something they like by giving them relevant suggestions. By showing popular items, or similar products to the one being viewed, you can keep shoppers on your store for longer, and increase the exposure of products they are likely to buy. Similar to an in-person personal shopper, this will give your customer the personalized and seamless experience they deserve and will suggest a solution before a need ever arises.

3. Elevate And Highlight Your Best-Sellers And Special Offers

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This is the ultimate tool for your quintessential passive shoppers that don’t quite know what they’re looking for, but are browsing, and need your help! With this feature, you’ve empowered them to find what they didn’t realize they wanted. Since top-level categories are usually very broad in scope, they’re likely to contain a large number of products. Most online retailers will inherently show new or best-selling items or a combination of both.

One way to quickly grab the customer’s attention is to merchandise these broad category pages by highlighting best sellers, on-sale, and highly-rated products. You also can display customizable banners on search result pages, brand pages, or category pages to promote special deals or incentives. Using unique banners with each new season to promote recently added items or discounts on last year’s inventory will create a bigger call to action to your non-active browser and give them one more reason to make a purchase.


As trivial as showcasing your best-selling items or giving the browsers the tools to narrow down their search might seem, these three features have a powerful and significant impact on your buyers’ shopping journey, and in turn on your conversion rates.