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marketlive-performance-index-q3-11-oct-2011.JPGThe online merchants who comprise the MarketLive Performance Index made solid year-over-year gains in areas such as visitors and revenues during Q3 2011, according to an October 2011 report from MarketLive. Results from “The MarketLive Performance Index Vol. 16” indicate revenue rose about 18% compared to Q3 2010, while visits increased almost 16%.

Other areas where online merchants showed year-over-year gains include conversion rate, which grew 5.24% from 4.43% to 4.66%, and engagement rate, which rose 8.47% from 9.66% to 10.48.

Not All YOY Gains Positive

Despite these promising results, not everything was rosy in the MarketLive Performance Index during Q3. The “one and out” rate, which measures the percentage of visits ending after just one page, increased by nearly 15%, suggesting that increased traffic is also bringing more visitors whose aren’t immediately connecting with products or offers that meet their needs.

In addition, the shopping cart abandonment rate slightly grew.

QoQ Results Less Impressive

marketlive-perrformance-index-qoq-q3-11.JPGQ3 2011 MarketLive Performance Index results were less impressive compared to Q2 2011 than to Q3 2010. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, overall conversion rate fell almost 10%, from 5.04% to 4.55%, and overall cart abandonment rate rose 3.26%, from 59.24% to 61.48%.
In addition, the percentage of “one and out” visits increased almost 10%, from 32.86% to 35.97%, while engagement rate fell 5%, from 10.97% to 10.42%.

Holiday Forecast Looks Bright

Online shoppers indicate they expect to boost their holiday-related internet activity this year compared to last year. Forecasters are predicting a 13.5% increase in online sales, which is slightly less robust than 2010 but still strong growth.

And almost nine in 10 (87%) consumers plan to shop online at least as much as they did last year, if not more. A majority of shoppers (56%) report they’ll spend the same amount as they did last year, with 7% saying they’ll spend more and 37% reporting they intend to spend less this year. Regardless of their budgets, study data indicates consumers will use the web to hunt for deals, with 61% of shoppers saying they intend to research products online before making offline purchases.

Other Findings

  • Average order size among index merchants during Q3 2011 was $147.26.
  • Average revenue per visit was $5.26.
  • The average customer viewed 11.43 pages per visit.
  • 62% of index sites had reviews.
  • About 36% of customers were acquired via search engines, 30% were bookmarked/typed, and about 3% were acquired via social networks. All other means combined represented the remaining share of acquired customers.

Compete: Free Shipping Drives Online Purchases

Free shipping is the feature most likely to encourage shoppers to purchase more goods online by a wide margin, according to a September 2011 white paper from Compete. Data from “The State of Online Retail” indicates that in Q2 2011, 77% of consumers said free shipping would encourage them to purchase more products online. In comparison, 56% cited free returns, the second-most-popular feature.

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