February 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Internet Retailer`s E-Retail Online Surveys

Through our new E-Retail Online Surveys, we will be tapping into the expertise of our most important asset--our subscribers--to provide extremely useful information on trends in e-retailing.

The primary asset of a magazine publishing enterprise is its base of subscribers--who they are, what they do, and how loyal they are as readers of the publication. By any measurement, Internet Retailer has a prized asset in its base of 34,000 subscribers. It`s the only subscriber base with strong representation from every merchandising channel--store chains, catalog and other direct marketing firms, web-only merchants and consumer products manufacturers who market direct to customers. All subscribers hold key positions in the companies, from department managers to CEO, and all share one thing in common--their devotion to and interest in the use of the Internet in retailing.

We have faithfully served this readership base by providing comprehensive and objective reporting of the trends shaping web-based retailing. And beginning with this issue, our readers will be helping us fulfill this information mission. In February, Internet Retailer conducted the first of many online surveys of the e-retailing industry in partnership with Web Surveyor, which markets a powerful online survey solution.

Once each month, we will be surveying the opt-in subscribers of our IRNewsLink e-mail newsletter asking them questions about a key aspect of web-based retailing. Individual responses to these surveys will be strictly confidential and will not be divulged to anyone, but the summary results will be reported and analyzed in the magazine and the newsletter for the benefit of our entire readership. In this way, we will be tapping into the expertise of our most important asset--our subscribers--to provide extremely useful information on trends in e-retailing, information that all of our readers can use to improve their online sales.

I want to thank the 350 subscribers of IRN who took the time to complete our first Internet Retailer E-Retail Online Survey, which focused on Search Engine Marketing. The survey rendered a treasure trove of data, which we report on page 38 of this issue. The Web Surveyor system allows us to analyze all of the responses to the survey in ways that highlight important trends. We can, for example, compare how a group that responded one way to one question in the survey also responded to another related question. Thanks to this capability, we determined that those e-retailers who purchase more search keywords also report a higher percentage of online sales attributable to search engine marketing. But the same correlation does not hold true for the amount that is paid per click for keywords and SEM contribution to web sales. Similarly, while the vast majority of our respondents to the survey report that Google searches yield better online sales, those who favor other search engines attribute a similar percentage of online sales to SEM as the Google crowd.

We are extremely excited about this new survey tool, because it fits so well with our primary mission of identifying those practices that produce success in e-retailing. In the coming months, we will be conducting surveys and reporting their results on other topics of vital interest to our readers, including e-mail marketing, e-payments processing, application of site search technology and the growth in online sales to overseas markets. I hope you`ll be able to take a few minutes to participate in one or more of these surveys. We value the knowledge you have gained from your e-retailing experiences, and when our readers collectively share their experiences with each other, they help lift the performance of the entire web-based retailing industry.

Jack Love, Publisher

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