Site Search, SEO and Email Marketing Ranked Top Three E-commerce Technology Tools of Choice by U.S. Retailers, Reports SLI Systems Survey
Hundreds of Retailers Highlight Marketing and E-commerce Trends they Believe Will Drive Business, Today and in the Future
Close to 90 percent of U.S. retailers rank site search, search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing as the most important e-commerce technologies helping to promote their online businesses, according to a survey released today by SLI Systems, a provider of on-demand search services for Internet and e-commerce sites. Forty percent of retailers ranked social media tools, such as blogs and podcasts, as gaining importance, and 38 percent highlighted that user-generated content is increasing in popularity, according to the survey.
SLI Systems’ “Trends in E-Commerce” Survey 2008, conducted in conjunction with online survey provider Zoomerang, found that nearly all of the participating retailers (87 percent) are currently employing site search, SEO and email marketing strategies, while many expect to pilot new technologies such as social media tools (47 percent) and online video (32 percent) in the next 12 months.
"Retailers are competing for consumer dollars, and they can compete better by bringing new tools to the customer experience,” said Susan Aldrich, senior vice president at the Patricia Seybold Group. “For example, a site with great site search, personalized with the merchandise most appealing to that customer, and providing the reassurance of customer ratings and reviews, will attract and keep customers by streamlining the tasks of researching and selecting the products they need. Leading retailers are using these ecommerce practices, and also managing their customers' experience from Internet search on through to the shopping cart, to promote sales and customer loyalty."
Site Search and SEO: Critical Tools of the Trade
According to the SLI Systems poll, most retailers believe the effectiveness of site search (82 percent) and SEO (93 percent) will increase over the next three years, while many cited they were expecting email marketing (52 percent), user-generated content (76 percent), social media tools (72 percent), mobile technologies (68 percent) and online video (69 percent) to have a greater impact on their marketing goals in the near future. Those retailers that are minimizing marketing spend due to current economic constraints are not inclined to diminish their core marketing programs, but would rather decrease spending on activities that are less results-driven such as podcasts (38 percent), static display ads (38 percent) and online video (24 percent). With the approaching holiday shopping season predicted to grow by 14.3 percent over the 2007 season (eMarketer, 2008), now is the perfect time for retailers to prepare their e-commerce businesses for a sales uptick, according to SLI Systems’ CEO Shaun Ryan. “Adopting proven technologies that can guide shoppers to a merchant’s site in the bustling world of e-commerce will enable retailers to deliver a better customer experience and ensure the holidays are fruitful,” he said.
SLI Systems’ “Trends in E-Commerce” Survey 2008 was conducted in August 2008 and includes responses from 322 decision-makers at U.S. retail organizations, 74 percent of which are multi-channel vendors. Additional key findings from the poll included the following:
91% of the retail companies surveyed cited site search as critical, very important or important to their online businesses.
Of the retailers that have measured the impact site search has had on their businesses, 87% reported positive results.
54% saw an increase in sales as a direct result of adding new site search capabilities, while 44% experienced greater conversion rates and 40% cited better customer satisfaction.
Of the retailers polled, close to 60% said they would be likely to consider a hosted (SaaS) site search solution over a traditional installed application to reduce costs, lessen the strain on IT resources and make for more rapid deployment.
“Because retailers utilize a number of technologies to help promote their products and services on the Web, the ability to share data across applications can make for a more streamlined effort,” said Ryan. “Our hosted site search is unique in that it learns from user behavior by collecting important search data to continually deliver more targeted results. This approach gives our customers valuable information they can use to improve the effectiveness of many of their marketing efforts.”
The SLI Systems “Trends in E-Commerce” Survey 2008 was conducted online by Zoomerang on behalf of SLI Systems. The poll, which gathered feedback from 322 marketing, e-commerce and executive management representatives from retail organizations in the U.S., was conducted in August 2008.
About SLI Systems
SLI Systems is the developer of learning-based search and navigation technology for corporate Internet sites, e-commerce destinations and consumer Internet portals that Searches, Learns and Improves the user experience. SLI Systems’ hosted site search and user-generated SEO solutions empower businesses to enhance customer satisfaction while increasing sales, reducing costs and yielding valuable customer information. Unlike traditional search software, SLI Systems’ patented technology continuously “learns” from the behavior of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in Silicon Valley, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information, visit www.sli-systems.com, or see the company’s blog at http://blog.sli-systems.com/. You can also listen to the SLI E-Commerce Podcast at www.EcommercePodcast.com.