While we continue to hear about social media’s increasing influence
over Internet consumers’ purchasing decisions, one recent study reveals
that email and search continue to be the most effective tools for
driving traffic to the best known retail websites.
ForeSee Results’ annual holiday e-retail customer satisfaction index
includes a variety of helpful data, not the least of which is that 19
percent of shoppers surveyed said they visited a top retailer’s online
storefront after receiving a promotional email from the company. Eight
percent said they were driven there by search engine results, and only
five percent said their decision to visit one of the top 40 retail
websites was primarily influenced by social media channels such as
recommendations on Facebook or Twitter.
Numerous studies show the growing importance of such recommendations
at the point of purchase, but for driving visitor traffic, email
promotions continue to be the most effective. “Tried-and-true online
marketing tactics should not be abandoned or ignored in favor of newer
media,” says ForeSee’s VP of retail strategy, Kevin Ertell.
The ForeSee Results index examines only the top 40 Internet
retailers, and perhaps the most important theme common to all of them is
achieving a balance between every available marketing channel – old and
new. “Social media is growing as a retail channel,” says Ertell. “It’s
just not the key driver of sales by any means at this point.”
The highest customer satisfaction ratings went to Amazon and Netflix
for the second straight year, while Sears and TigerDirect scored the
Nearly 10,000 survey responses were collected from November 29
through December 15 from shoppers who visited the top 40 retail websites
within the prior 14 days, and questions focused on four specific
categories: price, merchandise, website functionality and content.
Ertell said that one of the primary takeaways of the study was that
website functionality was more important to consumers than price in all
but a few cases.