Merchants Adapting to their Customers’ Online Shopping Habits

Jun 05, 2012 10:13 PM  By

Merchants have responded to consumer shopping behaviors and adapted their ecommerce sites to maximize their online sales, according to the results of MCM Outlook 2012-13, a survey conducted by Multichannel Merchant.


The 10-page MCM Outlook 2012-13 report shows seismic shifts several merchant behaviors, including how they communicate with customers via social media, the value they put on search engine marketing, how they keep buyers from abandoning carts and how they have adopted the use of QR codes.

“Retailers from eBags to Macy’s saw lifts in online sales of more than 30% during the 2011 holiday shopping season,” said Tim Parry, Multichannel Merchant’s senior content manager. “Since holiday sales as a whole rose less than 5% in 2011, it is evident that merchants made a lot of noise with ecommerce.”

And that adaption to the customers’ channel presence continued after the holidays. For example, 34.2% of respondents said they maintain an active presence in the visual social media network Pinterest.

But by no means has Pinterest overtaken the social media giants Facebook and Twitter – 87.4% of respondents said they maintain an active presence in Facebook, and 74.8% said they are actively tweeting.

“Considering zero respondents said they had a Pinterest presence when we conducted MCM Outlook 2011, it is obvious merchants are following social media trends and making sure they are where their customers may be,” said Multichannel Merchant publisher and chief content director Ellen Shannon.

Highlights of the report include:

· Merchants embracing mobile commerce: Although 47.3% of MCM Outlook 2012-13 respondents said they are not using m-commerce, that’s down 56.7% from last year. And 29.5% of respondents said they have a dedicated m-commerce site—a 211% gain compared to the 2011 results.

· Not all merchants have embraced Online Marketplaces: 45.9% of MCM Outlook 2012-13 respondents said they are not selling in marketplaces (such as Amazon.com and eBay). That includes 44.3% of merchants who identified themselves as primarily b-to-c sellers.

· Shift in Search Engine Optimization: Respondents felt traffic was the number-one reason to optimize their sites for search engines like Google and Bing. In 2011, respondents said they optimized their sites to make the sale.

MCM Outlook 2012-13 is available as a complimentary download at multichannelmerchant.com/research/2012/ecommerce.