October 22, 2008, 12:00 AM

Who’s up and who’s down in Top 500 average session length

In 2008, ShoeMetro.com posted the biggest gain in average session length, according to web measurement firm Hitwise.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

The average length of time a shopper stays on an e-commerce site is a good indicator of several pertinent metrics, including how satisfied a visitor is with their shopping experience and with the retailer’s site content and performance.

In 2008, ShoeMetro.com, No. 471 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, posted the biggest gain in average session length, according to web measurement firm Hitwise. The average session length on ShoeMetro.com this year grew by 101% to 6 minutes and 13 seconds from 3 minutes and 6 seconds in 2007. ShoeMetro.com, which generated web sales of $8.5 million in 2007, was followed by Gamefly.com (No. 271) at 8 minutes and 30 seconds, an increase of 66% from 5 minutes and 7 seconds in the previous year. Hangers.com (No. 468) also increased its average session length this year, growing from 2 minutes and 21 seconds in 2007 to 3 minutes and 54 seconds in 2008, says Hitwise.

Softchoice Corp., (No. 256) posted the biggest decrease in average session length. The company, which operates Softchoice.com, saw its average session length drop by 53% this year to 2 minutes and 26 seconds from 5 minutes and 12 seconds in the previous year, says Hitwise.

The average session length for U.S. traffic to Chapters.Indigo.ca, the e-commerce arm of the Canadian retailer Indigo Books & Music Inc., was 1 minute and 41 seconds in 2008 from 3 minutes and five seconds in 2007, says Hitwise.

Indigo says that the session time for the predominantly Canadian traffic that visits its web site is based on measurements from its Omniture analytics program and other sources is about 7 minutes.

“We are the leading retail brand in Canada with retail locations across the country. Our e-commerce and community experience is designed to serve Canadians,” says Indigo senior vice president, online, Carolyn Beatty. "The growth of our online community has driven our natural search traffic resulting in more U.S. and international traffic landing on the site driven by content and when they realize it’s a Canadian site they are less likely to stay and shop.”

The average session length declined by 44% for CPA2Biz.com, says Hitwise. CPA2Biz.com had an average session length of 4 minutes and 38 seconds so far in 2008, compared with 8 minutes and 19 seconds in 2007, says Hitwise.

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