October 24, 2012, 2:50 PM

E-retailers attract more visits and boost sales 15.9% in Q3

Site visits increase 12.7% for retailer clients of MarketLive.

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End-of-summer, back-to-school and Labor Day sales proved fruitful for the more than 100 retailer clients of e-commerce platform provider MarketLive in its Performance Index for the third quarter of 2012. Their revenue in July, August and September increased 15.9% on average over the same period last year, the vendor reports. It did not provide actual revenue figures.

A 12.7% year-over-year increase in site visits among those retailers helped drive sales, along with a 2.1% decrease in cart abandonment rates as consumers started shopping for the holidays, MarketLive says.

“The lower abandoned cart rate puts merchants in good stead for the upcoming holiday season—when a streamlined cart and checkout process is more crucial than ever—giving  shoppers total costs up front and highlighting crucial information about returns, exchanges and customer service," says Ken Burke, founder and chairman of MarketLive.

Other performance metrics were down very slightly. The average conversion rate was 3.80% in Q3 compared with 3.89% in Q3 2011, while the engagement rate, which refers to the percentage of visits that include adding an item to the shopping cart, was 10.14% in Q3 this year compared with 10.19% in 2011.

The bounce rate, or the percentage of visitors who view only one site page and leave, however, climbed 4.5% in Q3 2012 compared with the same period last year, MarketLive says. This indicates that retailers aren’t matching customers to the right products and offers when they arrive on site, the vendor says. The bounce rate increased to 37.66%.

The report suggests merchants can keep consumers on their sites longer rates by promoting shipping discounts on product pages and in the shopping cart, as well as making customer service options more visible. They can also retain more customers by differentiating themselves from Amazon.com Inc. with customer service, MarketLive suggests. For example, retailers could add support e-mail and phone numbers to social media sites and employ proactive live chat sessions.

The index also revealed:

  • Average order value among all merchants reached $155.39, or $5.04 in revenue per visit.
  • Customers visited 10.35 pages per shopping session on average.
  • 67% of e-commerce sites included customer reviews.
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