Friday, December 15, 2006

US catalogue industry: 44% of direct sales via web in 2006

According to the 2006 Multichannel Marketing in the Catalog Industry Report by the US Direct Marketing Association, US catalogue merchants expect to get 44% of their 2006 direct sales via the web, up from 39% in 2005 and 38% in 2004.

But don't think that this means that print is dead - far from it! The same report shows that although respondents estimated that 40% of web sales were incremental, 74% of respondents considered their catalogue to be the primary sales vehicle.

As Digivate has consistently argued for the last 10 years, all channels have role to play. The trick is to focus each channel on what it does best, and to consider each new channel's strengths and weaknesses before deciding how to exploit it.

Bad websites could make you ill

A recent survey by The Social Issues Research Centre found that most test subjects forced to interact with abysmal websites displayed symptoms that could lead to stress related conditions.

“Some changes in muscle tension were quite dramatic…While this was happening, the participant's faces also tensed visibly, with the teeth clenched together and the muscles around the mouth becoming taught. These are physically uncomfortable situations that reduce concentration and increase feelings of anger”

So a good website isn't just good for the merchant's financial health - it is also good for the health of the customers!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Online shoppers driven by convenience more than price

A new report by Questus shows that just over three-quarters of the 575 US shoppers surveyed said they shop online to save time, two-thirds cited the ability to shop 24/7, and three-fifths liked the lack of crowds. Just under half said they shopped online to save money.

All this shows that it is convenience not price that is the main driver of online shopping, despite the two-thirds saying that better prices would increase their likelihood of buying online.

Underscoring this conclusion are the figures for various changes that respondents said would increase their propensity for buying online:
38% - better product descriptions,
35% - better pictures,
35% - no registration,
31% - easier navigation, easier checkout and better return policies,
25% - reviews and customer ratings.

Action: All the items on this wish list are within your reach. They don't even require much investment, just some attention.

Waitrose capturing market share online

According to a report by Lightspeed Research, Waitrose has 14% of the online grocery market yet only 2% of the offline grocery market.

This shows how important it is to look at market share. Anyone looking at turnover would think that Tesco was doing pretty well online, but the figures show that Waitrose is punching above its weight on the Internet.

Action: Look at how your site compares to your competitors. If you're not better than them you're probably losing customers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

UK consumers want mobile web now

According to recent research by Harris Interactive, 51% of 16-24 year olds would prefer to access the internet via their mobiles. Given the apparently permanent connection between the young and their handsets, this doesn't surprise me.

Yet as I wrote in my blog of a few days ago, very few brands have mobile ready versions of their websites. Given that sooner or later all brands will need a mobile site, why not start now?