A new report by Mashable makes it clear that direct navigation to online retail websites is biggest driver of ecommerce sales. According to a study of over 75,000 online retail transactions recently released by Forrester, 30 percent of all online purchases from new customers result from direct navigation – users typing domain names directly into their browser bars to reach the retailers’ sites.
Organic and paid search were the next most prevalent purchase channels amongst new customers, while email was the clear winner amongst repeat customers, accounting for almost a third of all purchases.
For all the hype surrounding social media’s ability to drive online shopping, the study’s figures were surprisingly low. Less than one percent of all transactions across both new and repeat customers were driven by social networks.
A number of factors could contribute to this tiny figure. First, while consumers might not make purchases directly from social media sites, the networks still serve as hugely influential marketing tools, influencing users in ways that aren’t easily quantifiable. Second, Forrester’s study focused on large online retailers, and the company notes that social media does factor into more purchases at smaller ecommerce outlets, which were not included in the study.
Brands should take note of the results of this study as the biggest online shopping period of the year draws closer. Anchoring branded online retail outlets to strong, intuitive domain names will continue to drive the highest volume of online purchases from new customers looking for a specific product. Companies looking to lure existing customers should make an effort to individualize email messaging as much as possible, based on past purchase trends.
Online shopping continues to gain traction over all purchase channels, and while trends are sure to change, it’s clear that, at this point, direct navigation is still the key player in the world of online retail.
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