SOURCE: SLI Systems

SLI Systems

November 23, 2009 09:00 ET

Online Retailers Rely on Numerous Technologies to Improve Customer Experience; Most Don't Combine or Measure Performance Properly

As Holiday Frenzy Begins Survey From SLI Systems Finds E-Commerce Companies Uncertain How to Maximize Potential of Site Search, Analytics and Other Customer Engagement Applications

CUPERTINO, CA--(Marketwire - November 23, 2009) - E-commerce organizations continue to work hard at improving the customer experience through the use of multiple on-site technologies, according to the November "2009 E-Commerce Customer Experience Survey" released today by SLI Systems. However, the majority (68%) of the nearly 600 online retailers polled are uncertain if they are utilizing all of the data gleaned through these technology applications to more successfully recruit customers and maintain loyalty within their current customer base.

Additionally, only slightly more than half (55%) said they integrate these various applications -- a missed opportunity to further improve the user experience and impact their marketing efforts, according to search technology provider SLI Systems CEO Shaun Ryan. To capitalize on this year's holiday season, the survey suggests retailers should prioritize technology integration and analytics.

"When companies combine applications like site search with email marketing, or user reviews with online video, the results can be dramatically improved as compared to when these applications are used in a siloed approach," said Ryan. "In today's highly competitive selling environment, online retailers can capture more sales and conversions -- and have more meaningful engagements with customers -- when they integrate their various applications."

Of the technologies highlighted in the survey as the most frequently used for engaging with customers, site search, web analytics and email marketing came in as the top three with 88% using site search, 87% web analytics and 81% email marketing tactics. Following behind these were user-generated reviews at 53%, product recommendations at 47% and online communities at 43%. Almost half (42%) of the e-commerce businesses polled said they are not integrating data from these technologies across applications.

Ninety-five (95) percent of e-commerce businesses are using analytics on their sites to track conversions, measure the effectiveness of campaigns, conduct keyword research and better understand their online audience. However, 63% of these same businesses are not confident the analytics are accurate.

"The concern companies have regarding the accuracy of their analytics may be a result of implementation and integration issues, challenges with the analysis of the data, and variations over time due to ongoing site changes," said Ryan. "Analyzing campaign effectiveness can be difficult when applied across multiple marketing programs and on-site variations. The key is ensuring applications are tightly integrated and sharing information, and analytics are run and evaluated across technologies to obtain accurate, actionable data."

Other Survey Highlights

--  83% of businesses polled said that the ability to measure the
    effectiveness of tools or campaigns is critical or very important to their
    marketing efforts
--  Of the technologies e-commerce businesses are using to improve the
    online experience for customers, 88% said site search, 87% analytics and
    83% highlighted email marketing as providing the greatest return on
    investment (ROI)
--  Specific to the 2009 holiday season, 35% of online businesses expect
    to increase budget in preparation for the holidays
--  59% believe their website marketing strategies are ready to capitalize
    on the coming holiday season
    

Survey Methodology

The "2009 E-Commerce Customer Experience" survey was conducted online by Zoomerang on behalf of SLI Systems. The poll, which gathered feedback from 569 e-commerce business managers and executives, was conducted from October 20 to November 10, 2009.

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 blog.sli-systems.com

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