Purchase Intent: What Is It, and Why It Deserves Your Attention

Purchase intent, also known as buying intent, is a shopper’s willingness to buy a product or service from your business within a given period. 

Purchase intent doesn’t just impact the end of a customer’s journey—it’s worth monitoring from start to finish. Once a shopper becomes aware of your brand, you can begin tailoring your customer interactions to drive interest, desire, and, ultimately, action. 

Why is purchase intent important in ecommerce? For businesses with electronic storefronts, it can be difficult to tell who is most ready to buy something. Without the luxury of being able to study shoppers’ body language—or even physically approach them—you need another way to gauge their interest. This is where purchase intent comes in. 

Effectively identifying purchase intent allows you to pinpoint the visitors on your website who are most likely to buy something and act appropriately. When you know which customers are the closest to converting, you can deploy your resources more efficiently to close each sale. For example, if someone has been stuck on the checkout page for a specific product, you can utilize a product specialist to answer their questions, offer feedback, and ultimately, provide that final piece of information to push them across the finish line. 

In ecommerce, detecting purchase intent can also have a substantial impact on your bottom line. Digital advertising prices are soaring, and brands need a cost-effective way of convincing visitors already on their site to make a purchase. After all, once they leave, they may never return. That’s exactly what buying intent detection provides. But it’s not just about saving money. Acting on accurate purchase intent data can increase a brand’s online sales by 10% and in-store conversion rates by 15%—with many companies seeing results within a month. 

Read on to learn how to measure purchase intent and how your customer support team can utilize it to generate meaningful sales.  

How to measure purchase intent

Several factors can impact a shopper’s purchase intent. For instance, a customer’s demographics, order history, and satisfaction levels all affect their likelihood of completing a purchase. 

To calculate purchase intent levels, companies can make use of two main information sources. First, businesses can opt to have an external provider collect their customers’ purchase intent data. While third-party tools can draw meaningful conclusions, collecting this information is often time-consuming and expensive. Furthermore, customer preferences are fluid, and as they change, it can be difficult to get a truly accurate representation of where your current shoppers stand. 

A second option is to measure purchase intent internally by analyzing your own customer data with first-party tools. This information can be collected in various ways. For example, some leading customer support software already allows you to see purchase intent—and does so with accuracy as high as 87%

Leveraging your own buyer intent software can benefit your organization in a number of ways. Since you know your customers better than anyone, you’ll be able to customize exactly what kind of data you want your tools to track, how to collect it, and what actions to take with this info. Furthermore, you’ll be able to see this information in real-time, allowing you to instantly and proactively reach out to your customers who are most likely to convert.   

How to use purchase intent to generate sales

Identifying which customers have high purchase intent isn’t just good to know. As we noted, it can lead to a sustained revenue boost.

Some customer service platforms are built to make it easy to identify and act upon purchase intent. By providing agents with customer data like location, order history, and even current mood, these solutions present an accurate picture of an ecommerce shop’s customers.

Equipped with this information, service reps can provide personalized recommendations to specific customers who are most likely to convert straight from your catalog. What’s more, this can be done proactively—agents don’t need a customer to reach out to them first. Instead, you can create triggers that alert agents when a visitor with high purchase intent could use some help, like when a shopper spends an extended period of time on your checkout page. Now agents can step in at these crucial moments in the customer journey and offer assistance. 

Discover how Zowie Grow’s 360-degree customer view turns every interaction into a chance to sell.

For example, let’s say a shopper (we’ll call her Carrie) has viewed multiple laptops on your site but hasn’t committed to a purchase. A customer service platform would recognize Carrie as having high buying intent. This enables your agents to proactively reach out via chat asking if she’d like to get more information on any of the models or even speak with a product expert. Not only can Carrie get any questions answered right then and there, but her chances of finding that perfect product and clicking Buy have significantly increased. 

Instantly being able to track which of your customers have a high buying intent (and which don’t) can yield considerable gains for your organization. Knowing this allows you to deploy your resources efficiently and, ultimately, close more sales.

Drive meaningful profit through purchase intent

Zowie is an all-in-one customer service solution that detects buying intent and fosters support-driven sales.