August 20, 2001, 12:00 AM

Web site ROI is higher when site owners look beyond sales

69% of brick and mortar retailers judge web site success by the wrong metrics.

Jupiter Media Metrix, whose retail analysts since spring have taken the position that sales and profits alone shouldn’t be the measure of a web site’s success, have released new data to back up that contention. Brick and mortar retailers that factor in non-transactional benefits of their sites, such as sales influence and payroll productivity, will find that the ROI of their web site is 65% higher than if they considered only online sales, according to new findings from the New York-based research firm.

Brick and mortar retailers underplay the value of their web sites to their stores by using metrics that treat the sites solely as sales channels. Some 46% of retailers cite sales as the primary metric on which they judge the success of their web site, while 23% say they’re focused on site profitability. Yet 45% of consumers have used a retailer’s web site to research a product before buying it in the retailer’s store, Jupiter finds.

“Brick and mortar retailers should not blindly follow the lead of their pure-play competitors by adopting a focus on the profitability of their web sites,” says Jupiter analyst Ken Cassar. “A web site can yield financial benefits well beyond the transactions it generates.” Nearly two-thirds of a web site’s total benefit to multi-channel retailers will be in offline transactions inlfuenced by online research, Cassar adds.


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