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Rise in visitor bounce rates highlights challenge for retailers

A new benchmarking study has found that bounce rates on retail websites have continued to rise as consumers become more demanding when it comes to finding the right products and the experience that the websites provide.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Rise in visitor bounce rates highlights challenge for retailers

A new benchmarking study has found that bounce rates on retail websites have continued to rise as consumers become more demanding when it comes to finding the right products and the experience that the websites provide.

According to the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Index, bounce rates hit a record 27% in the first quarter of 2012, the highest rate seen in the two years that the index has tracked the data.

At the same time, sales through mobile devices including tablets have soared from 0.4% in Q1 2010 to 8.2% in Q1 2012, representing a 2,000% growth rate over the two-year period.

The research also found that visits via mobile devices were double that of the sales figure at 16.4% of total site visits in Q1 2012. IMRG said the increasing popularity of internet access through mobile devices was likely to be affecting bounce rates due to the context in which the access might occur and the fact that some sites’ displays will be more engaging on tablets than others.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: "The competition and choice available to online shoppers has always provided a fundamental challenge for retailers, as a hard-to-please visitor can easily become disinterested at the initial contact with a brand. These figures show that consumers are becoming ever more demanding when finding the online experience that suits them.

"Retailers need to ensure that the site is as engaging as possible for their customer demographic, looking at usability, social elements and performance through key channels and browsers. For online consumers, it would appear that first impressions really matter."

IMRG also found that the average ROI per pound spent for online marketing has ben consistently higher than the ROI for affiliate and PPC marketing. In Q1 2012, while the average for PPC and affiliate declined year-on-year, the average ROI for online marketing reached £19.57, 37% higher than the £14.22 figure seen in the same quarter last year.

Chris Webster, head of retail and technology at Capgemini, added: "The potential importance of mobile as a channel had been established and we are now seeing this translate into site visits and sales. We have yet to appreciate fully the impact of the mobile device in all its glory; location based marketing, mobile payments, near-field communication for customer identification; integration with social media. Mobile is the expression of your personality and customers are now more concerned never to be without their mobile phone that their wallet." 

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