December 14, 2012, 11:56 AM

Site search, SEO and mobile commerce are top priorities for U.K. retailers

U.K. merchants also improved SEO and merchandising to drive holiday sales.

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As the end of the year draws near, U.K. merchants are looking ahead at ways to increase sales in 2013. Many are addressing and tackling issues they encountered this year. A new poll of 110 U.K. retailers about their e-commerce operations conducted by Survey Monkey on behalf of site search vendor SLI Systems finds that the biggest challenges for merchants this year were improving conversions, say 60% of respondents, attracting more customers to their web sites (55%), expanding internationally (22%), and improving logistics (18%). 

When it comes to priorities for the coming year, the most popular answer is improving site search, which 22% of the companies polled noted. That is followed by beefing up search engine optimization, or SEO (17%) and mobile commerce (15%). 

A little more than two-thirds of retailers polled either have a mobile commerce site or plan to launch one this year. 41% of retailers surveyed say they plan to build a mobile commerce site next year and 35% already have one. 22% say they plan to build a mobile app and 10% already have one. 24% say they will enhance site search functionality on their mobile commerce site or app in 2013.

However, retailers didn’t save all the work for next year, the survey reveals. U.K. e-retailers took a number of actions this year in preparation for the 2012 holiday shopping season. A little over half say they worked on tweaking and improving SEO and 35% say they beefed up merchandising. Additionally, 33% say they improved visualization by adding more images and features such as zoom, 33% worked to improve navigation and 28% updated site search in an effort to deliver more relevant search results. 

Retailers also have added content to their sites in hopes of driving sales. For example, 66% of retailers polled say they have Twitter feeds incorporated into their sites, 62% have blogs and 59% incorporate video. The most popular content the surveyed retailers plan to add is how-to information (35%), blog posts (27%) and online videos (25%).

Of the respondents:

  • 16.5% sell 100% online.
  • 17.5% sell 75%-99% online.
  • 20.2% sell 50%-74% online.
  • 10.1% sell 25%-49% online.
  • The rest sell less than 25% online.
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