Commentary

Stocking The Larder: The Basics Are Still Dominating Ecommerce, Study Shows

The whole country is watching as retailers tentatively reopen their doors in certain locales. Which stores are going to do well?

Online performance may provide at least a partial clue. With many people still working from home (or not working at all) the focus remains on basics, not luxuries — although all areas are showing growth, according to research from  Namogoo, a platform for ecommerce optimization.  

Here is the list of sectors and how their conversions rose in April compared with February, based on a study of over 200 retail brands:

  1. Supermarket — 262.77%
  2. Home — 197.35%
  3. Health & Beauty — 184.08% 
  4. Electronics — 54.85% 
  5. Apparel & Fashion — 37.95%
  6. Gifts & Hobbies — 29.28% 

Now it may be that consumers will flock to electronics and apparel stores. But it’s doubtful. Most people are watching their spending at this point, and when they go out at all — to the Walmarts, say — it’s largely to buy the basics.

Drilling down into the supermarkets category, site visits were up by 201.43% in April, versus those of February. And conversion rates leaped by 20.3%.

In addition, checkout abandonment rates fell 39.19%. However, hijacked visits jumped by 193.90%, and the hijacking in April comprised 18.84% of all site visitors.

Where does this come in? Because that’s what Namogoo does — it monitors customer journey hijacking, the process by which competitors’ ads divert customers to other websites.

In the home category, visits jumped by 108.2% and conversion rates rose by 42.81%. But hijacked visits also increased by 110.21%, and the hijacking rate comprised 21.44% of all site visitors.

In contrast, the Health & Beauty vertical saw a 42.4% increase in visits and a 74.9% boost in email conversions. Page views per session registered a 64.5% rise.

Here, too, hijacked visits were up by 76.15% and the hijacking rate comprised 22.05% of all visitors.

Remember that these are ecommerce statistics: they may not reflect brick-and-mortar retail. But they’re probably close.

Then there’s this question: Does email play just as much of a role on the street as it does in ecommerce, given cart and browsing abandonment messages? 

That’s a complicated question, given the fact that shoppers jump from one channel to another, and that it’s hard to attribute it all. 

Of course, email is the vehicle for offering sales, deals, loyalty points and other such benefits. And if worse comes to worse and the pandemic forces stores to close again, it is the way to get those shoppers back to ecommerce sites.

As Justin DeBrabant, VP product at ActionIQ, points out, the COVID-19 crisis is “accelerating the digital transformation and forcing brick and mortars to think more about ecom.”

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