According to the 9th Annual Mystery Shopping Study by the E-Tailing Group, rich media, coupons and themed merchandising areas lead a broad range of customer-focused improvements on retail web sites, reported by Internet Retailer. Based on a survey of 100 retail web sites online audio files, found on 41% of sites, were up from 15% in Q4 2005.
During the fourth quarter of 2006
Areas of web sites set aside for themed collections of merchandise appeared on 59% of sites, up from 28% a year ago, and areas designated for clearance items appeared on 73% of sites, up from 51%.
Lauren Freedman, president of the E-Tailing Group, Chicago, says "... merchant initiatives are focused on control, convenience, creativity, convergence, and community. From the shopper's perspective, the issues are making it easy and saving time..."
The study reports that landing-page sorting options, a new measurement in the current study, appeared on 78% of sites. It identifies eleven additional sorting options:
25% of sites in the study offer features that let customers pre-order products, up from 16% a year ago, and 81% allow online customers to return products to stores, up from 72%.
For more on the study, please visit Internet Retailer here.