Consumer Electronics: Lessons Learned from eHoliday 08

I am continually amazed at the amount and quality of data that is available on just about every topic, if you know where to look. A great example of this is my favorite  web analytics vendor, Coremetrics, who regularly publishes click stream benchmark data about online retail. The Holiday 08 online shopping results are in, including these tidbits (with my interpretations) for consumer home theatre and home office.

  • Single page sessions down 11.29%. The percent of visitors to a consumer electronics shopping site who left after viewing the first page dropped from 27.9% of visitors in December 2008 to 24.75% in December 2009. Websites with high one page sessions may indicate a really bad site design that turns off shoppers so much they abandon the site in disgust or frustration. The 11% drop means to me that all the website redesigns that have taken place in the name of convergence are enticing shoppers to linger and learn more.

Note: If your site has higher than average one page sessions, check those click streams to see how they got to you–often a misleading ad word purchase is presenting you in search results where you don’t belong.

  •  Order sessions down by 11.33%. Although the percentage of visitors who put something in their shopping cart was up slightly (1.13%), the percentage of website visitors who completed an order was down 11.33% (3.62% in 12/07, 3.21% in 12/08). Personally, I contribute this to the annoying new feature I found on every site this holiday, “Place this item in your shopping cart to see the price!” How annoying. I also suspect that order sessions will continue to go down because shipping charges can be huge on bulky home electronics, and shoppers go through the checkout process to see final totals before picking a vendor. Guess what? Free shipping wins over a few dollars cheaper merchandise every time. By the way–abandoned shopping carts were up 11.55% this year. I rest my case.
  • Average order value up by 12.17%. Maybe order sessions were down, but each order was worth more. The average order total grew from $198.90 in 12/07 to $223.10 in 12/08–so much for all the media reports that consumers would spend less this season.
  • On-Site search sessions up 12.57%. Welcome to the Google age. As I often explain to companies asking about how to organize their web self-service sites, I don’t care how much you spend on indexes, categories, picture layouts, etc., many people just use the search field. The percent of website visitors who used the site search to find a product grew from 30.71% in 12/07 to 34.57% in 12/08. Now more than a third of shoppers just use search. But guess what? Many sites (to my surprise shopping for HDTVs over the holidays) have terrible search engines that return lists of garbage–press releases, product manuals, etc. Make sure you have an excellent search engine in place before spending another cent on the product catalog.

A big thanks to the folks at Coremetrics for publishing this information!  And thanks to you for reading.

Explore posts in the same categories: Consumer Support, customer support

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