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Outlook 2012 ecommerce-2


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Outlook 2012 ecommerce-2

  1. 1. Outlook 2012-13: EcommerceTEXT BY: TIM PARRYCHARTS BY: KATE DIMARCOH oliday 2011 went down in the books as the busiest one ever for ecommerce.ComScore reported that con-sumers spent $35.3 billion atconsumer ecommerce sites be-tween Nov. 1 and Dec. 26, a 15%increase over the correspondingdays in 2010. Retailers saw tremendous liftsin online sales—from onlineaccessories seller eBags (up 32%overall) to old-school depart-ment store Macy’s (which sawits ecommerce sales rise 40.3%).But were these kinds of numbersonly a sign that the U.S. econo-my has rebounded? Orwas something else at work? Based on MCM Outlook2012-13 results—coupled with Merchants embracing 2012-13 respondents said they are mobile commerce not using m-commerce, that’s downan overall 2011 holiday sales 56.7% from last year. And 29.5% ofgrowth of 4.1% as reported by It’s taken a while for merchants to em- respondents said they have a dedicat-the National Retail Federation— brace m-commerce. But after surpris- ed m-commerce site—a 211% gainit’s evident that merchants have ingly low mobile adoption numbers compared to the 2011 results. An-responded to consumer shop- in 2011, it’s evident that merchants other 13.4% said their sites are opti-ping behaviors and adapted to are ready for the small screen. mized for mobile. That question wasmaximize their online sales. Although 47.3% of MCM Outlook not asked in 2011. Sponsored by: 1
  2. 2. Eco mmerce Merchants are also starting to lookat pay-per-click opportunities in themobile space. Though just 15.2% ofrespondents said they are using mo-bile search ads, that number is up120% from last year. Why the sudden jump into mo-bile? The influence of the late SteveJobs may have something to do withit. Nearly a quarter of the respon-dents (24.8%) said they have aniPhone app, up 66.4% from last year,and 18.3% said they have an iPad app,a 161% increase. But 70.6% of respondents saidthey do not have a mobile app. That’sstill 16.9% less than those who didn’thave mobile apps last year.To market, to marketDuring holiday 2011, vendors thatspecialize in getting merchants set upin marketplaces such as Amazon andeBay boasted about their clients’ dou-ble-digit percentage growth in weeklyemails to the press. But that hype has not convincedmerchants to hop on board: 45.9% ofMCM Outlook 2012-13 respondentssaid they are not selling in market-places (the question was not asked in2011). That includes 44.3% of mer-chants who identified themselves asprimarily b-to-c sellers. According to the survey results,36.7% of merchants are using market-places as a way to prospect, and 29.1%are using them as a marketing tool topromote their businesses. No doubt selling in marketplacescan help build brand exposure ( Sponsored by: 2
  3. 3. Eco mmercemcm-gaelsong), but now merchantsmay be worried about losing futuresales to, eBay and oth-ers. But the marketplaces are seen asplaces to sell overstocks and overruns( Half the merchants who identi-fied themselves as primarily b-to-bmerchants said they are not selling inmarketplaces, but that number is ex-pected to drop. On the same day we deployed MCMOutlook 2012-13, Amazon launchedits b-to-b marketplace, AmazonSup-ply. While some industry experts seethe launch of asan all-out game-changer for b-to-bmerchants, others see Amazon’s entryas an added plus for b-to-b sellers ( media is growing upLast year, thanks to the antics of Char-lie Sheen, “Winning” became a big so-cial media catchphrase. The word wasone of the most popular hashtags onTwitter, and images of Sheen with thememe flooded Facebook news-feeds.But as 2011 came to a close, the socialmedia landscape had begun to grow.Instead of winning, social media userswere suddenly “pinning.” Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board Sponsored by: 3
  4. 4. Eco mmercethat allows users to share images andlinks that can be pinned by other us-ers, grew by leaps and bounds dur-ing the second half of 2011 (, and multichannelmerchants took an interest, accordingto MCM Outlook 2012-13 results. Al-though no respondents said they wereusing the social media, 34.2% of mer-chants who took the 2012-13 surveysaid they maintain an active presencein Pinterest. Which is not to say that Pinter-est has overtaken the two social me-dia juggernauts: 87.4% of merchantsmaintain an active presence in Face-book, up from 77.4% last year; and74.8% said they are actively tweeting,up from 57.5% from 2011. But merchants are clearly gettingtheir feet wet with Pinterest ( In February 2012, custom T-shirtseller Threadless ran a Valentine’s Daycontest to encourage community en-gagement and received a “whopping”366 entries, according to its blog ( As a result, itadded a Pinterest button on submis-sion pages so its users could post rightfrom Threadless to their pin boards. Pinterest wasn’t just for the pureplays—multichannel merchants likeLands End Canvas added “Pin It”buttons to their product pages sothat users could seamlessly pin itemsthey like or want to their boards ( Merchants alsocreated their own boards as anotherway pinners could spread productinfo virally. Pinterest wasn’t the only new-comer to the social media landscape. Sponsored by: 4
  5. 5. Eco mmerceMCM Outlook 2012-13 also revealed dia to listen to consumers—76.9% on its b-to-c buyers.big steps for Google Plus (Google+): said they use it to monitor what con- However, MCM Outlook 2012-1329.7% of respondents said they main- sumers are saying about their brands, respondents who identified them-tain an active presence there. a 33.7% increase over 2011. And 74% selves as doing 60% or more busi- But is it an “active presence,” or said they use social media to engage in ness in the b-to-b space didn’t placejust a presence? Because Google in- conversations with their customers— as much value on social media as Dellcludes a Google+ presence as a part of that’s up 7.4% from last year. does. Two-thirds said they are usingits algorithm, merchants are taking a Computer seller Dell said last year social media to monitor what con-minimal approach to Google+ to keep that it uses social media to drive re- sumers are saying about their brandsfrom getting penalized in the search lationships and engagement, and that (which is up significantly from 38.1%rankings ( it needs to drive a value-add for the in 2011), and 54.2% said they use so- Take L.L. Bean, for example. The customer ( It also said cial media to engage in conversationsoutdoors apparel merchant used social media has seven-times more with their customers—down fromFacebook to tell its brand story and impact on its b-to-b customers than two-thirds last year.engage with followers on a daily basis( But it engag-es its followers on Google+ with offersand incentives on a less frequent ba-sis ( A littlemore than 500 Google+ users haveL.L. Bean in their circles, while morethan 100,000 people on Facebook“like” L.L. Bean. While merchants see social mediaas a place to listen to and engage withcustomers and prospects, they don’tsee it as a place to sell. Just 6.7% of re-spondents said they have a Facebookcommerce store, and only 8.4% saidthey use Facebook commerce sales tomeasure success in social media. Last year, merchants told Multi-channel Merchant that they weretesting the waters to see how Facebookcommerce could work for them ( While smaller niche sellerssuch as Beaded Impressions saw somesales and exposure with outsourcedFacebook commerce apps, larger mer-chants like Roaman’s and Express cre-ated inhouse solutions, just in caseFacebook commerce took off. But merchants did use social me- Sponsored by: 5
  6. 6. Eco mmerceSeizing the search enginesThere was a time when search enginemarketing, search engine optimizationand pay-per-click advertising were over-looked by online merchants ( Now, however, merchantshave not only discovered the value ofthose three search engine tactics, theyare finding better ways to measure re-sults and improve on their efforts. In last year’s MCM Outlook sur-vey, 80.2% of merchants cited sales asthe number-one way they measuredtheir SEO and SEM efforts. Thatnumber dipped to 77.4% (a declineof 3.6%), according to MCM Out- Sponsored by: 6
  7. 7. Eco mmercelook 2012-13. And sales was replaced survey. Total conversions as a measure- (60%) said they are reaching deeperat the top by traffic. ment tool grew by 19.3%, clickthroughs into their analytics, a 21% increase A distant second last year at 70.2%, by 15.7% and rankings by 11%. from 49.6% from last year; and 42.6%traffic was cited by 86.1% of respon- Merchants still felt that optimiz- said they are increasing PPC termsdents in this year’s poll as the top way ing landing pages was the best way (up 58.4% from 2011).merchants measure SEO and SEM ef- to improve their search engine rank- Merchants also upped their SEMforts (an increase of 22.7%). ing, but that also had the largest drop budgets to an average of 23.54% of their Three other answers to that mea- of all the answers (down 12.8%, to overall marketing budgets (a 5.59%surement question grew by double- 62.6%, in 2012). increase). An average of 43.39% of thedigits in the MCM Outlook 2012-13 Three-fifths of the respondents search marketing budget is going toward PPC (up 8.82 percentage points from last year), while 25.77% is earmarked for SEO (down 1 percentage point). QR code adoption rises It’s hip to be square. QR code usage soared after last year’s MCM Outlook survey was completed. At that time, the United States Postal Service had an- nounced a “summer sale.” Mailers that used a QR code on or in a direct market- ing piece in July and August 2011 were offered a 3% discount. The USPS said nearly one-third of all standard mail during that timeframe contained a QR code ( And with the USPS recently an- nouncing a similar sale for 2012 (bit. ly/qr-code-2012), the number of merchants using QR codes has grown to 42.7%. Last year, just 8.6% were using them. The number of merchants who said they are not using QR codes as a part of their marketing strategy is still pretty high, at 38%. But last year, that was 71.6%. Last year, 19.8% said they weren’t Sponsored by: 7
  8. 8. Eco mmerceusing QR codes but were considering revenue opportunity. ple who had abandoned carts. Thatit. That number has dropped to 14.8% Last year’s results showed that, number dropped to 38.3% in MCMthis year. aside from email reminders, 60.9% Outlook 2012-13. The USPS seems to have changed of merchants did not market to peo- The ways merchants have marketedthe way merchants look at QR codesas a part of their marketing cam-paigns. MCM Outlook 2012-13 showsthat 63.2% of respondents are us-ing them in print catalogs (up 28.2%from last year), and 47.4% have themon postcards and other non-catalogmail pieces (up 12.4%).Capturing cart abandonersAs ecommerce grows in volume, sodoes the number of abandoned shop- ping carts. And it seems that merchants have begun paying attention to this lost Sponsored by: 8
  9. 9. Eco mmerceto shopping cart abandoners has also l 35.5% do not offer alternative pay- l 41.3% of merchants are selling in thegrown. For example, 37.4% have offered ment methods on their sites, down Amazon Marketplace; 45.9% are notcart abandoners a special offer via email, from 56.2%. selling in marketplaces at all.up 13.9% from last year. And 29.9% areremarketing to abandoners via remar- l 65.1% of ecommerce sites include l 74.8% of merchants measure successketing ads. That’s up 18.6% from 2011. a trustmark of approval from a third- in social media by the number of fol- party company, up from 59.1%. lowers or fans, up from 64.2%.Quick hits:l Video is starting to catch on. Almost64.3% of respondents said they areusing it on their ecommerce sites, up29.6% compared to last year. But fewermerchants are allowing users to uploadvideos to their sites (15.2% this year,20.8% in 2011).l 37.8% of respondents offer Live Chat,up from 20.3% last year.l 70.5% offer their customers the abili-ty to refine search results, up from 52%. Sponsored by: 9
  10. 10. Eco mmerceMETHODOLOGYAn online survey was fielded byMultichannel Merchant be-ginning on April 19. Subsequentmailings were sent to Multichan-nel Merchant’s subscriber list, aswell as to those of sister publica-tions Chief Marketer and DIRECT.Emails were also sent to membersof Multichannel Merchant’stwo LinkedIn groups (Multi-channel Merchant and O+FOperations & Fulfillment). A linkto the survey was also tweeted viaMultichannel Merchant groupand individual accounts. As an incentive to participate,survey respondents were offeredthe chance to win a $200 AmericanExpress gift card. When the survey closed on May21, there were 952 respondents.Of those, 654 (69%) indicatedthat their company was an onlinemerchant, retailer, manufacturer,publisher/media or a wholesale dis-tributor. Those active respondentsform the basis of the survey results. Sponsored by: 10