Typing the URL of a retailer into a browser window, search and email marketing continue to be the top methods consumers use to get to retail websites, according to the Etailing Group 8th Annual Merchant Survey. Customers typing in the URL of a retailer accounted for 27 percent of the average retailer's ecommerce sales in 2008, the survey found.
Paid search accounted for 17 percent of sales that year, while natural search accounted for 13 percent, and email marketing accounted for 12 percent. This is based on a survey of 192 retailers.
Consumers reached ecommerce sites through a variety of other methods. Customers who originated their web buys via catalogs and direct mail pieces accounted for 10 percent of Internet sales. Customers who came from affiliate sites accounted for four percent of sales; comparison shopping engines for three percent; offline advertising for two percent, and other methods represented 10 percent. Retailers reported uncertainty for the remaining two percent.
On another front, retailers are looking to viral marketing methods to attract consumers to retail websites. For 2009, 62 percent of retailers responding to the survey said Email A Friend is a somewhat to very valuable tool for bringing customers to their websites. In all 44 percent of the retailers cited blogs; 41 percent attributed sales to chats and bulletin boards, and 34 percent cited social networks.
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