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01/26/2022

Survey: Retailers’ top e-commerce priorities are…

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Retailers are developing strategies to attract online shoppers.

More than eight in 10 retailers share the same e-commerce priority.

Acquiring new site traffic was the top (83%) priority in a survey from RSR Research and Coveo Solutions, significantly more so than driving more onsite conversions (59%). Retailers surveyed for “Winning At Customer Acquisition In The Digital Shopping Age” identified their priorities for 2022 and provided insight into the strategies they believe will have the biggest impact on the bottom line.

Some of the most notable findings are below.

● 57% said that the majority of their customers begin their shopping journey on either Google or Amazon, and 83% of respondents said that they have increased their interactions with Amazon over the past 12 months.

● 61% said the digital experience has become an increasingly important part of their brand, followed by 56% saying their competition is doing a better job acting on customers’ expectations.

● 65% of respondents said more personalized offers and promotions are an important opportunity for an improved online shopping experience, and 61% said automatically suggesting relevant product recommendations would improve the online experience.

● Over half of the time, a mere 5% of shoppers log in to retailers’ sites while shopping, most opting to wait until checkout or simply using guest checkout.

● 77% of respondents said that they are currently using AI and machine learning for search/product discovery, and 21% said they are planning to do so within 18 months.

When asked for their strategy to compete with Amazon, over half (55%) of respondents said they essentially take an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach by making everything available on their own site also available on Amazon. Another 23% sell part of their product line via Amazon, and 6% sell through Amazon in certain geographies.

Of the remaining 16% that do not currently sell through Amazon, 10% are considering doing so and only 6% have no plans to ever sell via Amazon. The survey also reveals that the single-largest starting point for respondents’ customer shopping journeys is Amazon (34%), followed by their own websites (28%). Other common starting points include Google (23%) and manufacturer websites (10%).

A November 2021 survey conducted by RSR Research and Yotta asked consumers where they start their shopping journey, and 76% said rather than a brand’s website, they begin on Google or Amazon.

“The findings of this report surprised us in a number of ways,” said Steve Rowen, managing partner at Retail Systems Research. “Everyone knows COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, but what we wanted to know going into this research was exactly what that means for retailers who’ve been trying to fill in every new gap (and the list of gaps in their businesses certainly keeps growing) with improved e-commerce. The very first thing they told us? Google advertising isn’t going to be enough anymore, and they’re starting to reevaluate the money they’ve been pouring into that channel for far more engaging tools going forward. It’s a true inflection point.”

Ninety-nine retail executives participated in the survey. They represented brands that sell apparel, footwear, consumer goods, general merchandise, and more, and with revenues that range from $5 billion to less than $250 million annually.