June 2, 2005, 12:00 AM

What Merchants Want

The E-tailing Group`s annual survey

With almost the entire online shopping process computerized, e-retailing can be a metrics-driven business. There’s just so much to measure. Chicago-based consultants The E-Tailing Group Inc. conducts an annual merchant survey about retailing site metrics. Its survey this year showed that retailers are getting better about knowing crucial aspects of their online operations, such as conversion rates. It also reveals that retailers are applying traditional retailing tactics to their web sites. And they’re optimistic about this year: Fully 57% expect their online sales to grow more than 15% this year over last, with 15% expecting 50%+ growth. Lauren Freedman, president of The E-Tailing Group, cautions that while the information is useful in crafting an online approach, retailers need to interpret the metrics with their own objectives in mind. “It’s all about your own brand,” she says. “What’s great for others may not be great for you.”

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