Portland, Oregon – (The Hosting News) – September 29, 2005 –
Website analytics company, WebTrends Inc., has announced key themes and points of discussion from its
invitation-only 2005 Online Retail Holiday Readiness Summit held last week in
New York City.
An small group of leading retailers joined WebTrends to hear
the latest trends and research findings from several of online retailing’s most
prominent experts including Scott Silverman, executive director, Shop.org; Patti
Freeman-Evans, analyst, JupiterResearch; David Fry, president and CEO, Fry Inc.;
and Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, New York Times best-selling authors of “Call to Action” and founders of Future Now Inc.
Themes common among all summit presenters included recognition that a data-driven discipline and better merchandising are responsible for retailers improving their key selling metrics in 2004, and combined with multi-channel initiatives, are key strategies going into 2005 for retailers seeking a bigger share of growing e-commerce sales.
Scott Silverman kicked off the summit with an overview of the current state of retailing online, which provided a foundation for the holiday information delivered by Patti Freeman-Evans and David Fry. Patti Freeman-Evans, keynote presenter, and David Fry, presenter, provided an insiders’ view of the online retail business, offering both long-term strategic advice, as well as tactical suggestions that can still be implemented in time to maximize holiday success. Fry recommended that retailers realize that holiday shoppers have different objectives than during the rest of the year. From his firm’s experience operating and analyzing leading e-commerce sites, he has observed that holiday consumers are more impulsive, and while conversions go up, average order size and browsing behavior decrease. Fry suggests that retailers emphasize cross-sell over up-sell strategies, as consumers have planned gift budgets in mind, and that improvements to onsite usability, search and navigation can help more consumers find not only the product they seek, but also other gifts as well.
The keynote address by Patti Freeman-Evans, JupiterResearch, was based on findings from a recent JupiterResearch consumer survey and covered five key elements that retailers should focus on for the holidays:
1. Make it Easy – some of the top things retailers can do to make online shopping easy are to organize products in a logical manner, provide useful search tools, and offer the ability to navigate by product and check out without registering.
2. Give Them Time to Decide – the top two reasons customers abandon purchases are that they aren’t ready to purchase or that shipping/handling costs were too high. Free shipping was found by both Fry and WebTrends Online Holiday Retail Readiness survey to be highly effective promotions that many retailers will be utilizing. Additionally, Freeman-Evans suggested companies market the fact that consumers can save cart items for later purchase.
3. Ship it On Time – while free shipping is the best purchase motivator, fast, reliable shipping, regular promotions, privacy and fraud protection programs and ease of returns top consumers’ list.
4. Make it a Value – low price and low cost shipping are of top importance in motivating purchases, while previous experience with the retailer increased in importance from last year.
5. Make it Safe – for online users who have not made online purchases, security of transactions is the number one deterrent followed by concerns about shipping costs and the ease of returns. Freeman-Evans suggests retailers prominently offer “worry-free shipping” and “hassle-free returns” in addition to highlighting security certifications.
The last hour of the summit was spent in roundtable discussions where retailers had the opportunity to engage with experts on a variety of topics including optimizing customer loyalty, motivating visitor action, measuring what matters and best practices to ensure accuracy. WebTrends first retail summit was held in Philadelphia on August 1st.
Greg Drew, CEO and President of WebTrends Inc. commented, “Every attendee that filled out an evaluation form at our retail summit said they would recommend this event to a colleague, which is especially gratifying as we invest considerable resources in educating marketers and other professionals across the world about web analytics best practices and marketing optimization. In the next few weeks we’ll host events for both the Financial Services and eGovernment vertical markets, and attendees can expect the same attention to high-value, educational content.”
To learn more, please visit: www.webtrends.com.