SOURCE: MarketLive

September 15, 2008 17:54 ET

MarketLive Performance Index™ v5 Details Q2 2008 e-Retailing Statistics and Strategies for Increasing Customer Engagement and Accelerating Growth

MarketLive Merchants Employ Best Practices in Site Search and Navigation to Garner Shopper Attention and Increase Sales

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwire - September 15, 2008) - Shop.org -- MarketLive® Inc., www.marketlive.com, the leading global eCommerce solution for retailers, today released the MarketLive Performance Index™ v5, Focus on Engagement: The Elements of Effective Product Discovery. The Index is MarketLive's quarterly analysis of aggregate performance from nearly 100 online retailers using the MarketLive® eCommerce Suite and Omniture® analytics. The MarketLive Performance Index v5 reveals minor changes in key performance indicators during Q2 2008 and recommends that retailers engage more effectively with each shopper as traffic levels increase. The Performance Index details site search and navigation strategies that enable retailers to improve customer engagement and sales in the increasingly crowded online market.

"Merchants must work harder to stand out amidst the noise as more shoppers search for and buy products and more retailers clamor for their attention online," said Ken Burke, Founder and Chairman of MarketLive. "Effectively showcasing appropriate products through sophisticated internal site search and advanced navigation can be the key to dramatically improving customer engagement and sales."

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 Index reports that during Q2 2008, merchants registered less than a percentage point decrease in conversion and cart abandonment while customer engagement and the "1-and-out rate" improved by just over a percentage point. The following is a summary of second quarter results versus performance in the first quarter:

--  Overall Conversion Rate fell: -0.76%
--  Overall Cart Abandonment Rate increased: 1.30%
--  "1-and-out" Rate fell: -3.19%
--  Engagement Rate increased: 1.58%
    

Year-over-year, the Index reports a dramatic 18.63% increase in traffic, and conversely, a dramatic 20.19% decrease in engagement rates, which measures the ratio of carts to visits. The report asserts that with the influx of online shoppers, especially from Search Engines, a smaller percentage of shoppers are finding relevant products. "As merchants battle for shopper attention and dollars, engagement becomes the linchpin for success," added Burke.

Internal Site Search: Returning Results that Entice Visitors to Buy

The Index shows that nearly 40% of all visits use internal site search to connect with products -- and roughly the same percentage of revenue derives from those interactions. The Index describes tactics and technologies being used my MarketLive retailers that optimize internal site search to deliver appropriate results and increase sales. Technologies that enable features such as basic search, sort, filter and guided navigation are the four corners of product discovery, according to the report.

Navigation Strategies Help Customers Find Products

In response to different shopping behaviors, merchants employ proven categorization strategies, recommended by the MarketLive Performance Index. Alternative categorizations help shoppers find products in standard categories, help merchants merchandise related products, and allow merchants to offer alternative products when a certain product isn't available. The Index shows that sites offering alternative categories achieve 17.57% higher engagement and 33.54% higher conversion overall.

"The MarketLive Performance Index reports important trends in eCommerce and helps retailers maximize their performance as the market changes and evolves," added Tiffany Riley, Senior Vice President of Marketing, MarketLive. "The MarketLive eCommerce Suite is informed by these factors and delivers features that allow retailers to easily employ these winning strategies. We track the results across our base of more than 100 eCommerce websites and share the results with the industry and with our customers. Through the Index, we hope to help all retailers grow."

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. 5: Focus on Engagement,
    The Elements of Effective Product Discovery:
    www.marketlive.com/vol5performance
--  Attend our FREE Performance Index webinar September 25, 2008 at 10:00
    PT to learn from the experts. Register here: www.marketlive.com/vol5webinar
    

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 WakeSide, eVanity, Intermix, Gaiam, Carolina Biological and more.

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