Major missed opportunities

Apr 01, 2011 9:30 PM  By

DIRECT MERCHANTS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WITH ROOTS IN THE CATALOG CHANNEL, aren’t exactly known for being among the first to embrace ecommerce and other technology. But the results from our Outlook 2011 research survey were shocking in revealing all the things that marketers aren’t doing but should be. Here are four of them.


I knew multichannel merchants were a little slow to embrace mobile, but I had expected the percentage of respondents who were not involved in m-commerce to plummet from 79% last year. It did fall — but only to 74%. Yikes.

Marketing to shopping cart abandoners

You’d think the way that marketing to cart abandoners can help salvage a sale would make it a highly important online strategy. But when asked to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most important), marketing to cart abandoners had a mean score of 4.17. And that’s down from a 4.32 in 2010.

What’s more, 61% of the total respondents do not market to people who have abandoned carts. This is actually up a percentage point from the 2010 survey. Yikes again.

Live chat

Not only are just 17% of the total respondents using live chat, that’s fallen a percentage point from the 2010 survey. About a quarter of the larger respondents are using it — but still.

Research has shown that live chat helps convert customers, so this statistic is pretty disappointing. I’d have said maybe more merchants will use it next year, but the percentage who aren’t currently using live chat but are considering it fell as well, from 28% last year to 25% in 2011.

Trigger emails

The good news is that several merchants are using triggers. But any way you slice and dice the data, less that half of the respondents have a trigger email campaign. That’s leaving a lot of money on the table.

On the upside, multichannel retailers are investing in ecommerce, they’re adding rich media and incorporating user-generated content. But they’re overlooking technology and tactics that would no doubt help them generate more revenue and, in many cases, save money.

For a more detailed look at the survey results, you can download research reports for each area (catalogs, ecommerce websites, general marketing and operations and fulfillment) at For six trends that we’ve unearthed from the findings, turn to page 30.