Search Engines Growing Source of Customers For Online Merchants
by MarketingCharts staff
Search engines continue to be the strongest source of customers for the online merchants who comprise the MarketLive Performance Index, finds MarketLive [download page] in an April report covering Q1 2012. About 39% of customers were acquired via search engines, up from roughly 38.2% in Q4. Close to 29% were bookmarked/typed, and about 1% were acquired via social networks, down from 1.3% the previous quarter, and 3% in Q3 2011. All other means combined represented the remaining share of acquired customers.
Of the various verticals studied, brand manufacturers saw the highest proportion of customers acquired via social networks, at 2.1%.
Visits, Revenues Up Y-O-Y
The online merchants made significant year-over-year gains in areas such as visitors and revenues during Q1 2012. Data from “The MarketLive Performance Index Vol. 18? indicates revenue among year-over-year sites rose almost 20% compared to Q1 2011, while visits increased more than 4%. Conversion and engagement rates were both up more than 12%, to 4.23% and 10.59%, respectively, while abandonment rate dropped 1% to 61.09%. Tempering this success was an almost 12% increase in the “1 and out” rate, which grew to more than 36%, meaning that more than one-third of visitors now leave the websites after viewing a single page.
Q-O-Q Results More Disappointing
Despite the encouraging year-over-year results, online merchants saw quarter-over-quarter declines in various metrics. Looking at the average of all sites (not just year-over-year sites), MarketLive found that overall conversion rate dropped 26.1% to 4.28%, while engagement rate (visit to carts) fell 8.33% to 10.79%. The overall cart abandonment rate rose 9.84% to 61.15%, while the only good sign was a slight 0.63% drop in the 1 and out rate, to 36.32%.
Average order size among index merchants during Q1 2012 was $148.97, representing close to 6% growth from $140.87 in Q4 2011. Average order size was highest for apparel, footwear, and accessories sites ($205.04), and lowest for brand manufacturers ($74.22).
Average revenue per visit was $5.74, down from $6.57 the previous quarter.
The average customer viewed 11.21 pages per visit.
62% of index sites had reviews. Catalogers had the highest percentage of sites with reviews (84%), while brick-and-mortar retailers and apparel, footwear, and accessories shared the lowest (43%). According to results from a March 2012 BazaarVoice study, these merchants should pay close attention to the reviews posted on their sites, as their are significant insights to be found in them. Examining more than 6 million pieces of user-generated content from both in-store and online shoppers, BazaarVoice found that 12% of all reviews include product suggestions, and that the frequency of suggestions was highest among very positive reviews (4 out of a possible 5 stars), at 20%. Overall, about 8 in 10 product suggestions were deemed constructive.
About the Data: The MarketLive quarterly report examined Q1 performance data from more than 100 retail sites.