SOURCE: MarketLive

May 19, 2008 10:37 ET

MarketLive Performance Index™ v4 Details Q1 2008 Performance Statistics and Explores Customer Loyalty Strategies

MarketLive Merchants Maintain Optimal Performance in Spite of Sluggish Retail Market

FOSTER CITY, CA--(Marketwire - May 19, 2008) - MarketLive® Inc., www.marketlive.com, the leading global eCommerce solution for retailers, today released the MarketLive Performance Index™ Volume 4, the company's quarterly analysis of aggregate performance data from nearly 100 online retailers using the MarketLive® eCommerce Suite and using Omniture® analytics. This edition includes first-time year-over-year performance data and reveals that MarketLive merchants continue to defy economic trends by logging incremental yearly gains across key performance factors such as customer engagement and conversion.

One of the largest aggregate eCommerce studies in the industry, the MarketLive Performance Index, tracks performance across key performance indicators and provides insights into timely eCommerce strategies and proven best practices each quarter. The timely report discusses the opportunity for eCommerce to remain a bright spot in the retail market, and the imperative for merchants to begin boosting repeat business online. Email-based tactics for boosting loyalty are key tools for merchants now, the report argues.

"To achieve consistent performance in any market, merchants must shift their focus from acquiring new customers to a previously-neglected stage of the sales process -- retention," said Ken Burke, MarketLive Founder, Chairman, and Chief Evangelist. "Analysts report that 53 percent of online marketing budgets are spent on customer acquisition and only 21 percent on retention*. A solid retention strategy can result in a base of loyal, repeat customers and help retailers accurately predict sales performance and drive repeat business over time."

According to the MarketLive Performance Index Volume 4, the value of return customers is critical to an online merchant's bottom line. Data from a sub-set of long-time MarketLive Index merchants over a 15-month period shows that loyal customers contribute more than new buyers across a variety of metrics. They're more engaged, adding items to carts at double the rate of new buyers, and they go on to place orders 200% more often. The average order size for loyal buyers is also higher by 10% than that for new customers.

The MarketLive Performance Index Volume 4 details tactics for building a solid customer loyalty program using one of the simplest of online retailers' tools: email. Strategic use of email marketing is a winning retention strategy that won't overwhelm the marketing budget, according the Index. The MarketLive Performance Index Volume 4 explores best practices successfully used by MarketLive customers and describes six key elements to consider when building an email-based retention strategy, outlining promotional tactics for each.

Don McNichol, Director of eCommerce at MarketLive merchant Intermix New York, reports: "Our '20% off of your next purchase' email campaign has resulted in record sales from existing customers. Email marketing is a key part of our retention strategy. With MarketLive, email campaigns are simple to launch and monitor. We are pleased to watch our repeat customer sales grow and we're seeing efficiencies in marketing to this group across the board."

"The MarketLive Performance Index provides invaluable information for online retailers," added Tiffany Riley, Senior Vice President of Marketing, MarketLive. "With its large sample size and consistent metrics, it represents the pulse of the eCommerce economy. We are pleased to be able to provide this critical data to our merchants and the industry, and are even more pleased to observe that MarketLive merchants continue to outperform the market in key areas, despite economic pressures."

The MarketLive Performance Index is available free of charge. The MarketLive eCommerce Suite, combined with proven best practices and current eCommerce strategies, provides the foundation for retailers of all sizes to achieve optimal business performance.

--  Download the MarketLive Performance Index Vol. 4:
    www.marketlive.com/vol4performance
--  Attend our FREE Performance Index webinar on June 3, 2008 at 10:00 PDT
    to learn from the experts. Register here: www.marketlive.com/vol4webinar
    

About MarketLive

Since 1995, MarketLive, Inc. (www.marketlive.com) has provided enterprise-class eCommerce retail technology and services that help companies successfully sell goods and services online. Designed to meet the unique requirements of catalogers, retailers, direct marketers, and manufacturers, MarketLive® software and MarketLive's best practices-based the Intelligent Selling® methodology enable merchants to enhance their customers' experience online while dramatically improving acquisition, conversion, and retention rates. MarketLive is the most retail-targeted, fully featured, customizable eCommerce solution on the market today. MarketLive powers some of the most successful retail Web sites, including Boston Proper, Bon-Ton Stores, Stride Rite, and Trek.

* Forrester Research and Shop.org, The State of Retailing Online 2008

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