Study: E-retailers provide insights into multichannel visibility

Atlanta -- A study released Tuesday by commerce provider Innotrac Corp. provided insights into how today’s e-tailers are faring in terms of online progression.

The study, called SmartHub, evaluated 100 leading U.S. e-retailers across six different product categories in February. It found that the average number of checkout pages required to complete an order was three. Only 7% of merchants surveyed offered one-page checkout as an option.

In other findings:

  • Ninety-six percent of merchants surveyed were able to confirm inventory of a purchased item through customer service, however, of those who had more than one distribution channel (online plus physical stores, or catalog), only 47% of CSRs appeared to have visibility into activity happening outside of the e-commerce or direct channel.
  • Sixty-five percent of merchants surveyed were able to ship packages to customers in three days or less, a slight improvement from the busy fourth quarter holiday season. Merchants in the housewares/home category were most expedient, with 74% of orders received within three business days.
  • Thirty-eight percent of merchants utilized some sort of branded packaging, either inside or outside the box, up from 29% in the fourth quarter. Health/beauty merchants were most aggressive, with 53% utilizing branded packaging, the only category in the survey that indexed higher than 50%.

The addition of several new data points, including those pertaining to customer service, has provided additional insights not seen in previous surveys, said Innotrac. Multichannel visibility is one such area that is now being evaluated as retailers become more proficient at servicing customers who see no boundaries between online and brick-and-mortar outlets.

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