IRVINE, CA: Most interactions with a brand's website do not end in conversion, according to a study which observes that 92% of first-time visitors are there for reasons other than making a purchase.

Episerver, a provider of digital marketing software, surveyed more than 1,100 consumers for its Reimaging Commerce report.

It found that 45% of people visiting a site for the first time were searching for a product or service, one quarter were comparing prices or other variables, while more than one in ten were looking for store details.

Furthermore, one third of consumers who visited a brand's website or mobile app with the explicit intent of making a purchase rarely or never completed checkout, it added.

Nearly all (98%) had been dissuaded from completing a purchase at some time because of incomplete or incorrect content on a brand's website – underscoring the need for descriptive, accurate content.

"The content customers see and the experiences they have while interacting with a brand online are crucial to shaping their purchasing behaviour," said James Norwood, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of strategy at Episerver.

"While not every consumer visiting a brand's website is there to make a purchase, brands must consider how the experience of their websites – from navigation to checkout – supports engagement."

When they are ready to buy, a majority of consumers will typically be focused on that process: the survey found that 60% went directly to the product page for the item they were looking for.

Rather fewer bothered to look at sales items first (18%) or to check customer testimonials before anything else (7%).

The study added that online commerce will only grow in importance in consumers' lives, with two thirds of all shoppers responding that they plan to make more purchases online in 2017 than in 2016, rising to 91% of most frequent shoppers.

"Consumers expect the content they're shown to be relevant, accurate and, increasingly, customised to their preferences and location, " said Ed Kennedy, senior director, commerce at Episerver. "To compete in 2017, strong content is no longer negotiable."

Data sourced from Episerver; additional content by Warc staff