Count Carefully for E-commerce Evolution

Consistent and sophisticated measurement is critical to online sales success, according to a recent a survey of over 200 senior e-commerce executives. Chicago-based online retail consultancy the e-tailing group conducted the first-quarter 2003 survey. Results show that although you might assume the relative technological sophistication of retailers’ online sales channels, many still rely on simplistic measures. Web site traffic and sales reports remain the most frequently used measures for more than 84% of the sites surveyed, and only 6% of respondents have even tried predictive software.

Conversion rates, another important indicator of site activity, hovered in the range of 3%-10% for more than a third of respondents; another 32% of respondents reported conversion rates between 1%-3%; and 14% of respondents were unaware of their conversion rates. Twenty-eight percent of shopping cart abandonment rates were between 20%-50%. Even more surprising, 43% of respondents simply did not know what their shopping cart abandonment rates were.

The e-tailing report concludes that merchants need better measurement tools in the categories of buying and merchandising, marketing, and customer information before they can obtain enough useful data to develop Web sites truly in tune with their customers’ preferences and behavior.