Interesting Yahoo! Research via the Learned on Women Blog. If you run an e-commerce site and you’re addicted to watching your traffic logs, don’t be so concerned about quick exit rates, or a lack of instant conversions.
According to the research, only 21% of visitors actually make a purchase within 24 hours of visiting a site. The remaining 79%, they say, come back up to 2 months later.
They call this "Latent Conversion" and the Learned blog has an interesting take on how this relates to the way women shop online.
According to Learned, when women shop online (and this is going to be a huge shock for any men who have ever spent a day at the mall with their wives), they don’t just jump right in and buy. They visit, browse, and think. Then they leave. Then they ask friends what they think. Then they visit and think. Then they leave. Then they come back again. Then they finally buy. In other words, when it comes to shopping (for anything significant, at least) they don’t just make impulse buys (like us stupid men). They’re much more deliberate.
So in addition to designing your website for super-quick, easy conversions, you should invest some time into coming up with ways to keep women interested while they’re away from your website (hey—like email marketing!). Sorry, had to throw that in—I’m shameless.
If you think, "Okay, that’s waaaay too much trouble. There’s no way I’m going to design my site for women!" keep in mind that women control or influence most purchases (up to 80%, according to this post on Learned). So even if you sell only to men, you have to factor women into the equation. According to the research (and my wife), they control everything.