Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Finally Find Success Online

The Web sites of brick-and-mortar companies consistently drove qualified traffic for eight consecutive quarters. In fact, year-over-year visits grew an average of 23%, outpacing the index average by 43%. In the second quarter, revenue for this market group rose 12.8%. Conversion rates rose 0.3% to 1.3%. Average order value rose 1.4% to $256.04. The add-to-cart rate rose 5.7% to 7.1%.

The MarketLive Performance Index Volume 29 found that organic search queries drove 41% of the traffic and 37% of the revenue in the quarter for traditional brick-and-mortar Web sites. Search advertising drove 12% of the traffic and 13% of the revenue. Marketers saw 63% of investments go toward search engine optimization to drive revenue and 68% to drive traffic. Search advertising was 37% and 32%, respectively.



"For Organic Search, revenue and traffic are both down due to the continual changes Google has made to their algorithm over the past year to 18 months," said Ken Burke, founder & CEO of MarketLive. "These changes have made it harder for retailers to rank well."

Burke said that for paid search, MarketLive continues to see a steady decline from retailers pulling back slightly on paid search budgets. Retailers are moving more toward the long tail strategy, which lowers their spend and also their overall volume but tends to have a better conversion. Paid search actually returns a much better return via this strategy but does reduce the overall revenue number, he said.

Desktops drove half of the traffic to traditional brick-and-mortar Web sites, and 73% of the revenue. Smartphones drove 36% of the traffic and 14% of the revenue, whereas tablets drove 14% and 13%, respectively.

The findings from the study analyzed anonymous, aggregated, U.S. traffic and revenue data from MarketLive ecommerce Web sites that have continuously reported data from April 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 or before. Data was sourced from Google Analytics.

The report also breaks out specific industries. Revenue in the apparel industry, for example, rose 4.8% in Q2, compared with the year-ago quarter, although conversions rates fell 5.3%. This market segment also saw a 3.2% decline in average order value to $115.61, while the add-to-cart rate rose 2.9% to 10.5%.

Desktops for the apparel industry, at 51%, still drove the majority of traffic to online Web sites. Smartphones drove 36%, and tablets drove 13% for this category.

Organic search queries to apparel sites had the most impact, driving 67% of the traffic and 60% of the revenue. Paid search advertising drove 33% of the traffic and 40% of the revenue.

Cart abandonment rates on Web sites of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers rose overall. Brand manufacturers saw a slight improvement, falling 0.9%. The apparel industry rose 1.5%; beauty, 1.0%; home, 3.9%; B&M, 1.2%; and catalog, 4.2%. The smartphone cart abandonment rate fell nearly 5% to 81.4%.

Signs during the second quarter show that satisfaction among smartphone shoppers continue to improve. The page views per-visit rates rose without an equivalent increase in time spent on the site. Smartphone add-to-cart rates also rose more than 17%, but fell significantly on desktop and slightly on tablets.

Overall, Q2 2015 performance saw traffic rise 18.1%; and revenue 1.3%, compared with the year-ago quarter. Add-to-cart rates fell to 10.2% to 8.3%. Average order size rose 1.4% to $153.49. Conversions fell 11.3% to 2.2%. The percentage of abandoned carts rose 1.9% to 75.9%. Abandoned checkouts rose 3.1% to 46.2%.

It turns out that search marketers are getting returns on investments from paid search advertising and SEO, but the rates continue to decline. Revenue attributed to paid search fell 10.2% to 16%. The revenue attributed to organic search fell 3.4% to 30.6%.

Desktops, at 58%, still drove the majority of the traffic to Web sites. Smartphones followed with 29%, and tablets with 13%. Desktops generated the most revenue at 74%, smartphones 13%, and tablets 13%.

Search engine queries drove 37% of the traffic to Web sites and 31% of the revenue. Direct to sites drove 24% of the traffic and 20% of the revenue. Paid search advertisements drove 13% of the traffic and 16% of the revenue. Email drove 15% of the traffic and 14% of the revenue. Social drove 1% of the traffic and 0% of the revenue. Other methods drove 10% of the traffic and 19% of the revenue.

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