How to Recognize and Convert Comparison Shoppers During the Holiday Season

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Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization
How to Recognize and Convert Comparison Shoppers During the Holiday Season

November 22, 2017 by

While we haven’t reached Thanksgiving yet, we’re already deep into the holiday shopping season. During this time, many shoppers are on the hunt for one particular product. These shoppers are highly engaged — and often ready to convert. But before they buy, they want to shop around to find the best deal.

As an e-commerce marketer, it’s essential to do everything you can to encourage those comparison shoppers to convert with you rather than a competitive site. That requires you to 1) be able to recognize when a visitor is a comparison shopper and 2) provide relevant and appropriate messaging to her in real time. Without the ability to accomplish both tasks, you won’t be able to reach these comparison shoppers within their shopping window.

But how can you identify them? And how should you message them? I’ll walk through some ideas in this blog post.

1. Recognizing Comparison Shoppers

Think about how you shop online for a moment. This is the situation: you’re visiting a site when you find a product that interests you. You want to see if you can find this product anywhere else online for a better price (particularly when you are buying gifts for many people at a time and looking to maximize your shopping budget). What do you do? You highlight the product name, copy it, and paste it into your search engine of choice.

So as an e-commerce marketer, you can assume that most shoppers who are highlighting a product name on your site are likely headed to a search engine to begin comparison shopping. We have seen this to be true across many of our clients’ sites. While every site is different and each site’s customer base will behave differently, we have seen that visitors that highlight a product name often intend to immediately leave the page. These shoppers also tend to have a higher conversion rate that day than the average visitor.

To identify these comparison shoppers, use your personalization platform to recognize visitors that have highlighted a product name on a product detail page (PDP). Then that visitor will be automatically added to a segment of likely comparison shoppers.

There may be other ways to identify comparison shoppers to add them to that segment depending on your site as well. For instance, you could recognize shoppers that came in through paid search campaigns for specific products and infer that they are looking for those specific products. You could identify shoppers that have been highly engaged with one particular product, or visited that product several times within a specific period time and infer that they are interested in buying right now. It depends on your shoppers and how they behave on your site.

2. Messaging Comparison Shoppers

After you recognize a comparison shopper, you can target her with a relevant message in real time — either as soon as you recognize her as a comparison shopper or as she demonstrates intent to leave the site.

Of course, the messages you deliver to comparison shoppers will vary depending on the nature of your specific business. But the aim of the message should be to remind the shopper of the benefits of purchasing from you, rather than somewhere else. Remind them of your shipping terms; warranties; and any credits, points or benefits the specific individual qualifies for. You could even provide a small incentive specifically to comparison shoppers, rather than your whole site audience, to encourage them to convert promptly.

Final Thoughts

Timing is always important, but it is even more important during the holiday shopping season. Don’t wait until a comparison shopper returns to your site (if she returns) to reach out to her. She is likely looking to purchase something as soon as possible. If you can’t recognize a comparison shopper and target her with a relevant message in real time, you may lose the sale to a competitor.

Looking for more holiday shopping tips? Check out last week’s post on how to minimize the damage from out-of-stock inventory. And if you’re looking for anything you do last-minute, check out our last-minute tips for personalization and optimization during the holiday season.

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