EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2979 - January 15, 2013     3 of 4 Predicts 2013 a Back to Basics Year for Ecommerce

By David A. Utter

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As the NRF Retail's BIG Show 2013 gets underway in New York, a fruitful ecommerce 2012 leads into the new year with what predicts will be something of a retrenching, with a back to basics focus on improving the customer experience and increasing web conversions.

A slim majority of those retailers tallied in the 2013 Research State Of Retailing Online (SORO) survey plan to focus on site optimization as a top priority. These improvements will run the gamut from checkout optimization to page enhancements to user experience improvements.

The SORO survey found encouraging trends year over year in 2012. Ecommerce retailers in the survey found stable and even lowered cart abandonment rates compared to 2011. 58 percent of those surveyed indicated their conversion rates grew in 2012. Metrics like site conversion rates, average order values, and percent of sales from repeat customers all improved from 2011 to 2012.

Getting back to basics should happen with an eye on existing customers. There aren't as many new customers to attract, which places even more of a premium on getting repeat customers to buy and buy again. Fortunately 53 percent of online sellers in the survey saw average order value increase for repeat customers. 52 percent witnessed an increase in their repeat customer rate.

Those repeat customers likely will see deals being offered to them during the very early weeks of the 2013 holiday shopping season. As we witnessed in 2012, consumers sought deals in November as they sought to offset a soft economy. At Retail's BIG Show, Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru predicted online retailers will be strategic in their holiday promotions this year.

About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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