Compete Blog: It’s 10 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Shoppers Are?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the Compete Blog. Compete Inc. is a
web analytics company that focuses on understanding how consumers use the internet.
of the many reasons people love online shopping is the freedom to place orders
anytime, anywhere. We’ve all bought a pair of shoes at 3 a.m.
once, right? (Maybe that’s just me.)
I was curious to see how many people
actually are shopping in the wee hours of the night, and what times of day
are most popular for e-commerce. I broke down the day into one-hour segments,
and looked at average daily visitation to several major retailers and categories
during each hour. While the overall trends were similar across the board, a
few interesting patterns emerged.
Visitation to most retail categories peaks
in the evening hours, around 8-10 p.m. There is a steady increase throughout
the day (from about 9 a.m. on), and it drops off around 11 p.m. The lowest
levels occur in the early morning hours — between
3 and 5 a.m. Though traffic drops dramatically, there are still diehard shoppers
at this time of day, proving that the world of online shopping never sleeps.
Categories behave differently. For example, Sporting Goods retailers see a concentrated
peak around 8 p.m., after fairly low levels throughout the day. Home Improvement
sites peak in the morning and remain steady through the afternoon, with an early
drop-off at night.
I also looked at four major online retailers — Amazon, Overstock,
Target, and Walmart –and compared their shopping patterns throughout the day.
While the lines trend similarly, Amazon and Overstock skew slightly later,
with peaks at 8 p.m. Target and Walmart see visitation a bit earlier, with
peaks at 7 p.m., and more dramatic drop-offs at night.
Finally, I wanted to
see if certain demographics had different visitation patterns. I took the Apparel
category and broke out hourly visitation by male and female groups. Both had
peaks in the evening around 8 p.m., however, women had more constant visitation
throughout the day, as well as a peak in the morning.
Using such insights, apparel
retailers could target women during these peak times, or work to draw more
men to their sites throughout the day. But knowing when their prime customers
are online, retailers could potentially target their online buyers more easily
and potentially bring more traffic to their site — much
like many try to do with their in-store buyers during peak times. In the world
of email and social media bombardment, retailers have to work harder than ever
to stand out from the pack.
Discussion Questions: What insights can be derived from knowing daily shopping patterns of online buyers? How does it complement online marketing based on learned purchasing behavior? What is the best way to target consumers for a specific time of day?