E-commerce retailers fail to track website churn

E-commerce retailers are failing to track customer churn on their websites, despite the fact that an average of a third of customers are dropping off sites.

A study of 500 retailers in the UK and US for digital experience firm Eggplant found that consumers are driving a rapid shift to a range of online shopping options, with digital product and app releases up by 20 per cent per year.

A total of 90 per cent of retailers said they believed there were delivering a consistent digital experience, however the study revealed that 60 per cent were not assessing how this contributed to customer loyalty by measuring the rate of customer churn – or the number who were not returning to the site.

The average drop off rate for one in three sites is 50 per cent or above, while those retailers that are actively measuring customer churns saying they thought drop off rates were due to site navigation (51 per cent), site functionality (48 per cent) and site performance (47 per cent).

In addition, the study highlighted the growing pressure on digital teams in the retail sector, with 92 per cent of respondents saying they are focussed on business outcomes and an omnichannel experience directed by customer expectations.

In the US, 46 per cent of digital and IT teams release over 11 products or apps per year (compared with only 30 per cent in the UK), with 95 per cent saying this is an increase from last year and 87 per cent saying this trend will increase in 2020 (compared with 75 per cent in the UK).

Lack of adequate skills is one reason behind online retailers’ shift toward automation technologies, with over 70 per cent of retailers deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to test software and applications.

Organisations are also deploying technologies including live chat (46 per cent), native mobile apps (46 per cent) and front-end web technologies (45 per cent), which respondents said they expected to play a bigger role moving forward.

Over a third of retailers (34 per cent) are also looking to incorporate AI to improve the digital experience for customers. When it comes to the scale of the digital experience, 35 per cent are maintaining five or more digital channels, and 72 per cent measure three or more channels.

US and UK businesses are now recognising the importance of business outcomes and the customer experience, the survey showed, with 92 per cent of respondents measuring the user experience via business outcomes such as customer growth (74 per cent), company growth (71 per cent) and revenue growth (65 per cent).

John Bates, chief executive of Eggplant, said: “It’s great news to see organisations focusing on customer satisfaction and business outcomes when it comes to their digital experience, however it’s concerning to see that one in three customers are still falling away due to user experience issues.

“Traditional retailers have to grasp with the enormous task of transforming their businesses to digital experiences – it’s no surprise they are turning to AI and new technologies to deliver an omnichannel experience that drives business growth and delights customers.”

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