Merchandising Results From The E-Tailing Group’s 14th Annual Mystery Shopping Study

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by

The e-tailing group’s 14th Annual Mystery Shopping Study, conducted during 4Q’11, benchmarks 375 metrics, including 224 merchandising tactics, on 100 ecommerce websites across 14 consumer product categories.

As ecommerce continues to mature, refinement is the name of the game. Over a fourteen year span of annually mystery shopping merchants we at the e-tailing group, have observed the evolution of browsing, research and buying via the online channel as well as the recent merging of social networks and mobile devices into the fold. We have watched consumers take control while merchants rally to meet their demands for fast, efficient experiences. We have also witnessed merchants becoming adept at marketing to engage and retain these consumers. Here we’ll highlight select findings from our most recent study as it pertains to two of the evolving trends in omni-channel customer experiences-social standing and mobile inroads.

Social Standing

Socialization begins onsite with a goal of customer involvement then moves to Facebook where this study benchmarked 37 features on merchant Facebook pages. Among the primary onsite tactics are landing pages sorts by customer rating, denoting top rated products and providing “ask & answer” on the product page. Links to social networking and the presence of the “like” button are now more prevalent than ever as are social features in post order emails.

Just over half the merchant Facebook pages currently offer some form of shopping with most re-directing customers to the retailer’s ecommerce site but 16% do enable buy now functionality that provides direct access to shopping via the Facebook page. These and other shopping-centric metrics tracked for the first time this year are charted below.

Mobile Inroads

While merchants are focused on refining existing ecommerce strategies, innovation is apparent in the development of mobile as well as social platforms. In fact mobile commerce increased by 75% year-over-year.

New metrics indicate a strong presence of mobile apps too with links to both mcommerce and mobile apps on ecommerce sites helping to bridge the omni-channel experience.




















Clearly, our Mystery Shopping Study confirms that merchants are concurrently refining online tactics while diligently developing social and mobile initiatives. Their ultimate goal must be to deliver a channel-agnostic shopping experience whereby the consumer can seamlessly migrate from the physical store to their channel-of-choice based on shopping dilemmas and desires.

A report detailing benchmarks from the e-tailing group 14th Annual Mystery Shopping Study will be available to purchase and download via at for $395.

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