Key Q4 '12 Insights for Merchants

Data is continually emerging about the performance of online retailers in the final quarter of 2012. Monetate's latest release of its ECommerce Quarterly Report (EQ4 2012) for example, reveals several important trends and includes analysis of key performance indicators including conversion rates and average order value by both device and inbound referrers.

Some of the more noteworthy insights include:

: The Expanding Ecommerce Window :
During the last holiday season, ecommerce conversion rates plummeted after "Free Shipping Day" (Dec. 17) even though retailers continued free shipping promotions beyond the date. Monetate suggests that a consumer "doubt gap" on shipping has emerged, presenting an opportunity for retailers to prove to consumers they can deliver the goods in a shorter window, extending shopping opportunities.

: The Mobile Issue Remains :
On Christmas Day 2012, according to Monetate's data, almost one-third of all ecommerce traffic came from smartphones (16%) and tablets (15.6%). Just a year earlier, less than half of that amount of traffic (14.5%) came from smartphones (6.4%) and tablets (8%). Monetate suggets that online business which do not tailor their web experience for smartphones and tablets run the risk of alienating (or losing) customers.

: Smartphone Conversions Rise :
Conversion rates on smartphone devices remain low (1.2% compared with 4% for tablets), yet smartphone traffic hovered over 10%. These numbers point to consumers using smartphones primarily as "retailer prompted research" tools; this sets the stage for retailers to get more creative in driving the smartphone experience through to conversion.

"One of the most telling insights from the EQ4 2012 is the Christmas Day device data," said Kurt Heinemann, CMO, Monetate. "On Dec. 25th, 15 percent of all ecommerce traffic came from tablets, whereas the average tablet traffic percentage in December was about 10 percent. This reveals the mobile is increasingly the device of choice. When consumers have leisure time and any device at their disposal, they reach for the tablet or smartphone. Ecommerce had better be paying attention to this trend."