Online Retailing Progressing Slowly, e-tailing group Survey Shows
It’s getting tougher for marketers to achieve acceptable conversion rates and ROI, according to the e-tailing group’s annual merchant benchmarking survey, released April 3. The survey of 167 merchants shows that current conversion rates average in the 2 percent to 3 percent range, but vary from 1 percent to 5 percent depending on category and site evolution. Among the responses garnering the most tallies among those surveyed are the following.
*23 percent of respondents employ three to five full-time employees on their e-commerce programs, although the fourth-leading vote-getter was 41 or more employees, cited by 12 percent of respondents
*48 percent of respondents have staff spend less than 10 hours a week on reviewing metrics from their sites (the shortest answer choice given)
*96 percent ranked keyword search as the top merchandising feature rated very to somewhat valuable
*75 percent said they have no communication with those consumers who abandon their shopping carts
*48 percent of respondents said their online marketing plans are working “mixed” with some elements strong and others sub par (22 percent said their online marketing plans are performing above plan; 24 percent said theirs are on plan; just 6 percent reported their marketing plans performing below plan or poorly), and
*48 percent report that their level of sophistication regarding customer segmentation is rudimentary, compared to 33 percent reporting some segmentation.
In breaking down the survey’s results, the e-tailing group’s Lauren Freedman offers marketers the following tips:
1. Understand that providing quality service, robust feature sets, and operational dexterity – along with depth and breadth of the right product is a given in the customer’s mind
2. Start with proactive planning, skilled resources and sophisticated technology - do not presume growth will transpire without dedicated funding and personnel
3. Know your customer and your competition, use this knowledge to provide a one-stop shopping experience with the requisite tools and merchandising tactics, accessible through technology