February 9, 2012 Leave a Comment
The final holiday numbers are in — and there’s much reason for merchants to rejoice. The latest numbers from online measurement firm comScore show a 14% revenue increase for Q4 2011, with sales totaling $49.7 billion.
And, once again, it appears that the wealth wasn’t limited to major national brands and mass merchants. Year-over-year data from merchants listed in the MarketLive Performance Index in both 2010 and 2011 shows revenue gains of 20% for the fourth quarter — signaling that mid-market merchants thrived despite heavy competition and tight marketing budgets.
The “1-and-out” rate — the percentage of visits ending after viewing a single page — jumped significantly, signaling that more shoppers than ever clicked away from sites immediately if they didn’t spot the products or deals they sought. The increased “1-and-out” rate offset the overall traffic growth of 12.18% — which means that merchants’ efforts to connect shoppers with relevant offers was even more effective than the numbers suggest for those shoppers who stayed on-site.
Meantime, key performance indicators held steady year over year, with conversion, abandonment and engagement — the “add to cart” rate — all improving slightly. The data suggests merchants held their own in a challenging sales environment, and demonstrates that focused, targeted offers to likely buyers paid off in increased sales.
Closing the “1-and-out” gap
The growth of the “1-and-out” rate continues a trend we spotted in the second quarter of 2011, when MarketLive Performance Index showed continued growth in the percentage of flighty eCommerce site visitors who departed after a single page. To combat the trend, relevance — matching the right products and offers with the right shoppers — should be a priority for 2012.
Consider the following techniques, as outlined in Volume 15 of the Index:
- Reduce the “1-and-out” rate beyond the home page. With SEO and paid search employing more deep links into eCommerce sites than ever, merchants must maximize the effectiveness of interior pages.
- Capture the revenue potential of internal search. Despite the explosion of flashy new merchandising techniques and eCommerce shopping experiences, this tool remains a mainstay for driving eCommerce purchases – and merchants must optimize it more precisely than ever to deliver relevant results quickly.
- Establish an effective social networking presence, and track results. Merchants have so far been slow to seize the opportunity to create an engaging brand presence that drives sales as well as “likes”. As outlined in an earlier post, now is high time to start tracking performance of social media outposts using actionable metrics.
Read the report for more data and examples — and watch for a new 2012 trends report coming soon with further strategies for the year ahead.