Late in August (Online Sales: Be Sure to Get Your Share), I promised to deliver more from shop.org’s State of Retailing Online 2007 survey as soon as it became available. And so, yesterday, shop.org released, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story, uh, survey.
What we learn is that the stakes are being raised for retailers to provide a consistently positive, more sophisticated online experience for shoppers. “Top priorities include fixing Web site design and performance issues,” according to the study conducted by Forrester Research Inc., “improving the efficiency of online marketing, and enhancing cross-channel integration.”
At the top of the to-do list for retailers during the next 12 months, the survey predicts, will be fixing Web site pages that provide details about the products being sold. Eighty-eight percent of retailers surveyed say they will focus on improving content on these pages. They plan to make improvements by adding alternative images (80 percent); incorporating lifestyle photography (72 percent); and integrating customer ratings and reviews (63 percent).
Retailers surveyed also say they plan to focus on their home pages by integrating top-selling items and “what’s new” sections. They say they will make their Web sites more sophisticated by adding drop-down menus and rollover lists in navigational areas.
And, to differentiate themselves from competitors, retailers surveyed say they will make customer service a priority. To that end, 33 percent say they will invest more in live chat, and 53 percent say they plan to enhance their guest checkout process.
Tomorrow, we will discover where these retailers have been spending their money.