Yes, It's Official: Search Engines Most Popular Path To Web Sites
More consumers went to Web sites to make purchases in Q4 2011 than in the fourth quarter of 2010 -- but many could not complete their task. Some 34% claimed they could not find the product they were searching for, while 32% said the product wasn't available. Other significant barriers were unclear pricing and comparisons at 18%, and a lack of product information, at 7%.
The iPerceptions Retail and E-Commerce Industry Report for Q4 2011 reveals that overall satisfaction for Web site visitors rose from 70 in Q4 2010 to 71 in Q4 2011. The share of visitors who came for support declined compared to one year ago, from 11% in Q4 2010 to 7% in Q4 2011. Shopping for the product remained the most popular purpose of a visit. And the share of visitors who arrived via a search engine rose significantly, from 24% in Q4 2010 to 34% this quarter.
The report, based on feedback from 129,563 visitors to 97 retail and e-commerce sites worldwide, suggests that search engines have become the most popular path to sites -- at 34% in Q4 2011, up from 24% in the year-ago quarter. The data represents aggregated information obtained from iPerceptions’ webValidator and 4Q Suite surveys.
Another study released from iPerceptions analyzes automotive retail Web sites. Here, too, the report notes that search engines have become the most popular path. Search engines replaced the consumers' need to type in the URL as the most popular way to discover automotive retail sites. This trend began in Q3, but continued into Q4 2011, with 36.6% of visitors using this path. The report suggests that these results highlight the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Big-ticket items also felt the pain. Consumer satisfaction for automotive Web sites declined in Q4 2011 in overall satisfaction and task completion -- two metrics that typically go hand in hand. Satisfaction slipped from 68.6 in Q3 to 68.3. Likewise, task completion fell from 68.6% to 68.0%.