E-Marketing Pre-K: Ecommerce Brands Fail Basic Tests On Their Sites

Ecommerce brands are unprepared for demand surges, and few offer personalization on their sites, according to the State of Search Report 2021, a study by Coleman Parkes Research, sponsored by Algolia. 

Of the retailers polled across four countries, 79% have little or no personalization or recommendation functionality.

One can assume that their email marketing platforms are little better. If they are not serving the desired content, how can they build email lists based on first-party data?

Worse, are they clearly seeing browser and cart abandonment and reacting to it with triggered emails, assuming they have captured the email addresses? 

Despite all that, most firms seen ready for the end of the cookie. They claim they are: 

- Completely prepared (We have the right tech in place to detect on-site and in-app behavior and adapt to it) — 20% 

- Somewhat prepared: (We’ve started planning, but have not yet implemented the right technologies) — 60%



- Completely unprepared (We use old-school personalization tactics and practices) — 19%

That said, only 13% rate the search experience they provide as advanced. In contrast, 54% are at the intermediate stage and 33% say they are at the basic level.  

Coleman Parkes surveyed 900 marketers from June 16 to July 15. Of the firms represented, 33% are headquartered in the U.S., 22% in the UK, 22% in France and 22% in Germany.  

Based on last year’s experience, 65% say ability to meet demand is the biggest  challenge they have to solve, followed by ability to scale (47%) and ability to iterate (25%). And 7% say they have no issues.  

Part of the blame for all this may be under-investment. Of all companies, 46% have either under-invested (26%) or have not invested at all in website search (20%). Another 48% say they have adequately invested, and 6% say they have over spent. 

Going forward, only 35% plan to increased their investment in their search function over the next 12 months, and 61% foresee no change. The remainder expect to decrease their spend. 

What is driving the firms that plan to invest? They seek to: 

  • Enable customers to find what they are looking for more quickly — 62%
  • Be able to respond to competition — 55%
  • Offer customers a frictionless dynamic experience — 47%
  • Offer innovative new ways of business — 46%
  • Innovate faster — 43%
  • Predict and surface offers relevant to consumers — 41%
  • Adapt to unpredictable market conditions — 36%
  • Unlock incremental revenue — 31%
  • Iterate and optimize offerings/products more quickly — 30% 

How do they measure the value of search? They cite: 

  • Customer satisfaction — 51%
  • Conversion rate — 44%
  • Shopping cart abandonment — 39%
  • Average order size — 36%
  • Customer lifetime value — 35%
  • Time-saving — 31% 
  • Gross merchandise value (GMV) — 26% 
  • Workflow efficiency — 25% 
  • Reduction in customer queries — 22% 
  • Churn rate — 15%



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