Live From IRWD: How E-tailing Group 100 Merchants Evolved in 2009

Orlando – Chicago-based e-commerce consultancy E-tailing Group conducted its 12th Annual Mystery Shopping Study in the fourth-quarter of 2009.

E-tailing Group president Lauren Freedman selects 100 i-merchants to benchmark for their customer service as part of her E-tailing Group 100. The companies include pure-plays like Zappos to multichannel retailers like Crutchfield and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to traditional department store merchants like Saks Fifth Avenue.

What did Freedman learn about the evolution of e-commerce in 2009? Here are a few highlights from her session Tuesday at the Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference in Orlando:

  • The average number of clicks to get through the checkout is shrinking… slightly to 5.42 from 5.48 during fourth-quarter 2009. That figure also includes the 27% who find reason to deliver a one-click checkout solution.
  • The use of perpetual shopping carts has risen: 92% of sites reviewed have them, up from 77% in the fourth quarter of 2008. That includes 39% who have a pop-up version that results in a full-cart display.
  • Easy buy/direct-to-cart buying is now found on 62% if the sites, up from 39% last year. Search results, category page and shopping cart are the predominant locations for the option.
  • Creative is also courting customers: 47% of merchants showcase product via themes to drive conversion, 72% tempt buyers and prospects with exclusive items, 35% showcase the awards they receive and 39% tout their media exposure (like a product featured on television).
  • Merchants are also turning product pages into destination pages to suggest, inform and entice. Alternate product views rose to 76% of the sites followed in fourth-quarter 2009 from 68%, and 21% offered three-dimensional product views, up from 10%. Three items of significance on product pages that weren’t charted in 2008: Streaming video product demos (55%), guides and how-to sections (30%) and tips and glossaries (24%).
  • Customization is up: 27% of e-tail group 100 merchants have product configurators while product personalization has grown from 24% in fourth quarter of 2008 to 37% of sites.
  • Ratings and reviews are also seeing growth: They were found on 74% of the sites, up from 58% in 2008. The top-rated reviews are also being used as a selling tactic for 49% of the e-tail group 100 sites, up from 24% the year before.

On the other hand, adoption of social media didn’t seem to live up to the hype. Only 60% of E-tailing Group 100 merchants include a link to a social networking site, Freedman said.

Of that 60%, 85% are promoting their Facebook presence, 73% their Twitter involvement and 35% are touting YouTube. What’s more, only 36% are running blogs on their sites.

Partner Content

The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.
Strategies for Maximizing Mobile Point-of-Sale Technology - NetSuite
Learn the top five innovative ways to utilize your mobile POS technology to drive customer engagement, increase sales and elevate your brand.