Online Merchants Recognize Value of Keyword Search

April 18, 2012

e-tailing-group-highly-valued-ecommerce-features-april2012.jpgAlmost all online merchants see the value of keyword search as an website feature, finds the e-tailing group [pdf] in April 2012 survey results. Asking e-commerce executives to rate 50 features on a 5-point scale (with 5 being very valuable, and 1 being not at all valuable), the company found that keyword search was indicated by 98% to be a valuable, somewhat valuable, or neutral (top 3) feature, making it slightly more popular than sales/specials (95%), email as a merchandising vehicle (94%), seasonal promotions (94%), and what’s new (93%). Other features getting a top-3 ranking among at least 90% of respondents included cross-sells (92%) and product ratings and reviews (91%).

Mobile Gets Some Love

Data from the “11th Annual Merchant Survey” indicates that online merchants are increasingly seeing the potential of mobile commerce. This year, 85% rated this a top-3 tactic, up 25% from 68% last year. This is likely due to the increased traffic merchants are seeing from mobile devices: 51% said they are seeing more than 5% of their traffic coming from mobile browsers or mobile applications, a huge increase from 9% who indicated that level of activity just last year. In fact, slightly more than one-third are getting at least 3% of their revenues via mobile traffic.

Even so, mobile web conversion rates are only outperforming website conversion rates for 10% of the respondents overall, while only 3% say the same for stand-alone native applications. Tablets perform better, with 22% saying conversion rates on the devices are somewhat or significantly better than what they find on their websites. According to April 2012 study results from RichRelevance, the average retail conversion rate on an iPad is triple that of other mobile devices (1.5% vs. 0.5%), though it trails desktop and laptop conversion rates (2.3%).

Facebook Commerce Not As Valuable

Measuring social shopping for the first time, the e-tailing group survey found that while top rated (87%) and Facebook like (81%) features scored highly among respondents, social login (56%) and Facebook commerce (51%) were seen as valuable by comparatively fewer. This is probably a reflection of low take-up from respondents: just 19% say they are either currently using, or plan to use social sign-in in the next 12 months, with Facebook shop (25%) also not widespread.

By contrast, 95% either have or plan to have a Facebook page, with roughly 4 in 5 saying the same about customer reviews and like buttons on product pages.

Other Findings:

  • Rich media such as zoom and video were given a top-3 value ranking by 92% and 86% of the merchants surveyed, respectively, both up 11% points from 2011.
  • Live chat (74%) and frequent buyer programs (68%) also saw increased popularity, up 15% point and 12% points, respectively.

About the Data: The 11th Annual Merchant Survey was fielded in Q1 to senior executives with with responsibility for e-commerce. 147 respondents completed the survey.

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