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<>Internet Retailer reports that a majority of the biggest e-tail sites seem to be able to keep shoppers signed on for longer visits – with the average online time now said to be 9 minutes and 31 seconds, up 21 seconds from a year ago. The study, conducted by Hitwise Inc., shows that “visitors and shoppers spent more time on, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide,,,,,, and”

It was not a universal experience, however: “At the same time, visitors also spent fewer minutes on,,,, and,” the magazine writes.
KC's View:
A skeptical person, of course, could suggest that people are only hanging around these sites longer because the retailers are less efficient or their bandwidth is slower…but even I’m not that skeptical. Of all the sites mentioned in the list, I only frequent two with any regularity – and – and I am consistently drawn in to them for longer and longer periods simply because they are very good at teasing and tantalizing, and at giving me “just one more thing to check out” before I get back to work.

Now, to be fair, Internet Retailer notes that longer time signed on doesn’t always translate to higher transaction figures, and that a short, efficient stay can be just as productive and profitable as a long stay. And that certainly is true – there are times, when I go to Amazon knowing exactly what I need, that I’m there for under a minute but I’m highly satisfied.

I actually think that more time signed on, even if it doesn’t translate to a bigger sale, does usually mean a higher degree of loyalty – it may mean that the shopper is connecting to the retailer’s community in a more profound way. I think that’s the difference between an excellent online retailer and one that is merely good; when I sign onto the former, I get the sense that I am part of something bigger than just a sale.

That ought to be a goal for every retailer, whether brick-and-mortar or virtual – creating customer connections that are meaningful beyond dollars and sense.