As technology evolves, more consumers are able to access the internet through a larger number of platforms. As a result, retailers are beginning to see more purchases made through their online stores than ever before.
In fact, a new study from ecommerce technology and services provider MarketLive revealed that the fourth quarter of 2011 saw an increase in online traffic, revenue and purchase order size.
According to the study, which polled representatives of more than 100 online websites, the majority of companies experienced an increase in profits.
These revenues increased by 20 percent during the fourth quarter alone, while the number of consumers that entered online stores with the intent to make a purchase increased by 12 percent.
The study revealed that online retailers also saw a 13 percent increase in total orders. Meanwhile, these orders were on average 7 percent larger than in the past. These results suggest that more consumers are feeling comfortable opening their wallet to make purchases on the web. As this trend continues, businesses that wish to remain relevant in the future will need to improve their retail websites to increase convenience for the online shopper.
"With nearly one in every 10 discretionary dollars being spent online, retailers should be reassessing their total commerce strategy in 2012," said MarketLive founder Ken Burke. "Successful merchants should identify and focus on three to five key goals for their consumer across multiple touch points and ensure those goals are consistently being met."
However, while the report encourages businesses to improve their web presence, they should do so strategically. If a company implements a mobile ecommerce site, something that is becoming increasingly important with the influx of consumer smartphones and tablets, it should be well-planned. Ineffective sites, which are those that fail to integrate properly with social media resources or ones that provide meaningless content, will prove to be more troublesome to organizations, MarketLive said.
According to Forrester Research, online retail sales are expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent through 2015, eventually generating nearly $279 billion in revenue.
As more consumers become familiar with shopping over the web, companies need to be sure they can predict where business is going. By improving the visibility in supply chains, organizations will be able to make more sense of purchasing trends and adjust their inventory accordingly.