Screen Pages has released e-commerce benchmark data regarding visitor sources and behaviour, conversions for retail e-commerce websites, for the period Oct-Dec 2010, including Christmas.

The businesses indexed are limited to niche brands, generally selling online, via catalogues and stores, whose online sales range between £50k & £10m per annum and average order values average £71. The e-commerce platforms ran on either Microsoft Commerce Server or Magento.

The period involved includes Christmas, so many e-tailers enjoyed good seasonal trade and these benchmarks reflect that: lead metrics such as bounce rates and conversions all improved.

Table of characteristics by source of traffic

Source of traffic Average % of site visitors Average bounce rate Average conversion rate
Search engines 59.61% 28.3% 2.57%
Direct 14.8% 35.6% 2.68%
Referrals 12.9% 37.3% 1.41%
Email 12.7% 29.9% 4.0%

Within search traffic, the percentage of “generic” – i.e. non brand-related – was 30.1%. This figure reflects the effectiveness of SEO activities for brands, as the brand-related traffic is high overall. The “know us” traffic (direct URL entry and brand-related searches), which represents the bedrock of a niche retailer’s online business is 38.7%.

The impact of retailers’ email marketing campaigns on site traffic and sales is clear: email activity accounted for one eigth on average of all traffic.

Screen Pages also looked at the use of the onsite search box. About 8.4% of all visitors use these search boxes and it converts at 4% - nearly twice as normal.

The data, compiled from 30 e-tail websites over a six month period using Google Analytics, studies where visitors land on websites and what actions they take.

As a Google Authorised Analytics Consultant, Screen Pages has invested in Google Analytics to provide the tracking technology for e-commerce websites. The company provides a range of value-added services to help retailers get up to speed with Google Analytics, including standard and advanced/bespoke training, quarterly e-commerce benchmarking and individual website audits.

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