SOURCE: MarketLive

June 05, 2007 12:23 ET

New MarketLive Performance Index Provides Live Metrics to Measure Success for E-Commerce Merchants

MarketLive Introduces New Sales Performance Index to Track How Top B2C Performers Boost Revenue Using Best Practices

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - June 5, 2007) - At a presentation at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition today, Ken Burke, Founder, Chairman and Chief Evangelist for MarketLive, Inc. (www.marketlive.com), unveiled the MarketLive Performance Index, a new quarterly e-commerce index that measures the performance of online merchants using an untapped set of metrics that promote best practices. MarketLive, the leading global e-commerce application platform and services provider for retailers, is uniquely qualified to track e-commerce performance since the company hosts nearly 200 online stores for leading brands. Among the findings of the MarketLive Performance Index are that e-commerce merchants who rely heavily on search engine optimization to drive traffic have the highest percentage of unproductive single-page ("1-and-out") visits, and that effective product content can increase the number of shopping carts by more than 100 percent and the number of conversions by more than 200 percent.

Traditionally, Web analytics has focused on the conversion and the cart abandonment rates, which reveal little about the true performance of an e-commerce merchant, or provide little insight into how to improve conversion rates. The MarketLive Performance Index measures data from customers who utilize MarketLive's best practices to provide indicators of the true effectiveness of e-commerce sites. MarketLive's Performance Index not only recognizes the conversion and cart abandonment rates but also includes an "engagement matrix" that assesses the level of customer engagement with the site.

The MarketLive Performance Index is the first of its kind, looking at the e-commerce industry like no one has before. The Index consists of data from the top e-commerce merchants -- MarketLive clients earning from $2 million to $200 million in annual online sales. Some of MarketLive's clients include Boston Proper, Calico Corner, Dylan's Candy Bar, Gumps, Keds, lucy, Norm Thompson Outfitters, Papyrus and Pendleton.

Key findings from the MarketLive Performance Index include:

--  Forrester Research recently found that the industry average conversion
    rate, i.e. the ratio of orders to overall visits, is 2.6 percent, whereas
    the MarketLive Performance Index sets the conversion rate at 3.9 percent.
--  Forrester Research also reports that 25 percent of Web sites have some
    sort of customer reviews on their Web site whereas 32 percent of MarketLive
    customers have such a function, which generally means shoppers spend more
    time on the site.
--  Search engine traffic can be a double-edged sword. The Index reveals a
    direct correlation between sites relying on search traffic and "1-and-out"
    rates -- the number of single-page visits to the site. Merchants using paid
    search campaigns must fulfill the promise of the advertising message
    immediately or risk losing shoppers after just one page view.
--  Effective product page content is worth the investment. On top-
    performing sites, shoppers add items to the cart directly from the product
    page 111 percent more often and go on to complete their purchase 223
    percent more often than on less-effective sites.
    
"From the outset, we conceived of the MarketLive Performance Index as a 'live' index that provides real-world insight into how to improve e-commerce performance," Ken Burke explains. "For example, using performance metrics that measure levels of engagement using our 'engagement matrix,' we can gauge to what extent the site's merchandising and content encourages visitors to become browsers, and browsers to become buyers. These live metrics provide a factual baseline to show you what is successful and how to improve your own site's e-commerce performance."

While the conversion and customer abandonment rates reveal some details regarding the customer shopping experience, merchants still need more information in order to make tactical decisions that will drive sales. The engagement matrix takes a deeper look at how shoppers engage with an online retailer and what factors lead browsers to become purchasers. For instance, by calculating the percentage of visits that are single-page visits ("1-and-out") and that are specifically bouncing off the home page, merchants gain instant insight into how many visitors are willing to engage further and become browsers, and whether they need to change their home page design or use other means to encourage users to browse.

The MarketLive Performance Index also revealed that about half of the customers who began the checkout process actually completed the process. On average, half of the shoppers completed but top performers saw a 70 percent conversion. MarketLive has found that there are a handful of key factors that lead consumers to fail to complete the checkout process. Merchants using MarketLive's platform have found it beneficial to utilize a "mini-registration" approach versus requiring full registration to promote user engagement and increase the number of conversions. In addition, an enhanced shopping cart, which provides estimated shipping costs, taxes and the ability to apply coupon discounts, decreases the amount of checkout abandonment. The Index also demonstrates that by using key metrics as a map, merchants can chart their course and guide customers along the path to purchase.

The complete findings for the first MarketLive Performance Index are available from the MarketLive web site at www.marketlive.com.

MarketLive customers will be gathering to review the Index and discuss best practices and how they utilize the MarketLive platform to drive sales and increase customer loyalty at the 2007 MarketLive E-Commerce Summit in Sonoma, California, June 18 - 20. More information can be found at http://summit.marketlive.com/.

About MarketLive

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

Contact Information

  • For Further Information Contact:
    Lisa Duryea
    MarketLive, Inc.
    1-707-780-1794
    Email Contact

    Tom Woolf
    Allison & Partners
    1-415-277-4923
    Email Contact