January 15, 2013, 11:06 AM

Site improvements capture e-retailers’ attention in 2013

Shop.org and Forrester survey merchants about their goals for the year.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Sucharita Mulpuru

2013 will see retailers spending significant time improving such elements of their e-commerce sites as checkout, alternative payments, user experience and enhancements to product detail pages, suggest results of a new survey from Shop.org and Forrester Research Inc.

The groups based their most recent “State of Retailing Online” report on survey responses from 62 merchants. Shop.org is the e-commerce arm of the National Retail Federation trade group.

The findings this year show that 51% of respondents putting as their top priority for 2013 site optimization, which includes the features mentioned above. This priority follows some 12 to 18 months of dedication to mobile commerce initiatives, says Vicki Cantrell, Shop.org executive director.

“While direct mobile commerce is still small, mobile services are now an established and significant part of the shopping experience,” she says. “Retailers this year are smartly investing to create a holistic customer experience across stores, desktop, and mobile to improve conversion rates, grow crucial repeat customer business, and even capture their share of customer demand from international markets.”

The survey results released this week by Shop.org also show that:

• 43% of respondents put mobile and tablet initiatives into their top three e-commerce priorities for 2013. Such efforts can include new or improve mobile apps and sites, the report says, analytics capabilities and encouraging more conversions.

• 27% of respondents plan to make site redesign a priority this year. That can include “overhauling the look and feel” of sites and embracing responsive design, which means building a site displays differently depending on the viewer’s screen.

• 58% of respondents report their conversion rates in 2012 increased compared with 2011.

• 53% report increasing average order values for repeat customers over the past year, while 52% report experiencing an increase in their repeat customer rates.

• 36% of respondents say that mobile sales and traffic have helped their overall conversion rates grow.

“Despite continued growth in mobile commerce, it will be important for retailers in 2013 to pause and understand the opportunities, distractions, and implications of mobile within the e-commerce landscape,” says Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

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