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Survey: Shoppers Abandonment of E-commerce Sites

Please find attached and below, a news release issued on behalf of Christchurch-based SLI Systems. SLI Systems is a leading provider of learning-based search technology for corporate Internet and e-commerce websites to companies around the world.

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New Survey Shows U.S. Shoppers Abandon E-commerce Sites within Minutes of Not Finding the Products They Desire, Often for Good

Research sponsored by Christchurch-based SLI Systems in the US provides valuable insights into online shopper’s behaviour and the importance of Site Search and SEO in offering a fruitful online shopping experience

Nearly three-quarters of online shoppers (73%) will leave an e-commerce site within one to two minutes of not finding the products they are looking for –according to a national survey sponsored by SLI Systems, a provider of on-demand search services for Internet and e-commerce sites. Thirty-six percent of those polled said that they would never return to that site and fifty-six percent said they would only come back if the site had completely unique items that couldn’t be found elsewhere. In line with these findings, almost all of the survey respondents (96%) stated that a website’s search function is important to the online shopping experience.

With the fast approach of the holiday shopping season, a pivotal time for retailers, and expectations for greater online revenues this year than ever before, these findings should be positive news for e-commerce merchants that have invested in tools and technology to ensure their site visitors can quickly and easily find the products they seek. At the same time, the report should serve as a warning for retail sites that aren’t prepared to meet consumers’ needs. According to the SLI survey, conducted in November by Zoomerang, which queried more than 500 U.S. consumers between the ages of 18 and 65, more than half of online shoppers (55%) plan to purchase more products online this holiday season than they did last season.

Dr. Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems said, “Consumers have become more adept at shopping on the Web and as such, they now expect a seamless e-commerce experience from the sites they visit. Retail sites must present shoppers with what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds or risk losing a sale, and even worse, losing a customer for good. Adopting a solid site search strategy that provides relevant results and browsing options to visitors and includes many ways for site owners to merchandise products, can lead to prosperity during the holidays and year round.”

It’s no secret to e-commerce organisations that search engine optimization (SEO) is important to generating site traffic. According to the SLI Survey, the majority of online shoppers (87%) find retail sites through a major search engine, such as Google, Yahoo, MSN or AOL. And, 86 percent of respondents are inclined to visit retail websites that they’ve never heard of simply because those sites rank highly on the major Web search engines.

Alan Boyer, senior marketing manager for DeepDiscount.com, and SLI Systems customer, said; “Throughout the year, and particularly during the holiday season when our traffic increases tremendously, we’re dedicated to helping our online customers easily find the products they came to us for. While SEO helps bring people to our site, site search plays a critical role in making sure they don’t leave empty-handed.”

Although holiday shopping has already begun for many consumers, most online retailers rely heavily on December sales to make their yearly numbers. Thus e-commerce vendors wanting to make last minute site changes to ensure a better shopping experience for their customers still have time to prepare for the holiday season rush.

SLI Systems has five recommendations for online retailers looking to improve customer loyalty and increase sales during the holidays and throughout the year:
1. To meet consumer demands, increase sales and keep customers coming back, a site search strategy should deliver the items shoppers are looking for on the first page a majority of the time.
2. Search engine optimization can be a full-time job, so implementing an automated SEO solution that manages part of the process – by determining what keywords to optimize for and automatically creating the appropriate landing pages – will make life easier for e-commerce vendors while driving needed traffic to their sites.
3. Taking advantage of the combination of e-commerce search and online merchandising, known as ‘searchandising’, enables merchants to realize higher levels of customer satisfaction and returns.
4. Finding an affordable, hosted site search solution that offers leading industry features with immediate deployment, in a matter of days, means less management hassle and a quicker path to more satisfied and more loyal customers.
5. Utilising site search to determine trends in the data, such as what visitors are looking for, the terms they’re searching with, and what they’re finding and not finding, provides unique insight into the best ways to promote products and to provide a personalized shopping experience that keeps customers returning for more.

ENDS

Survey Methodology
The SLI Systems e-commerce survey was conducted online by Zoomerang on behalf of SLI Systems within the United States. The poll of 540 adult Internet users, representative of the US household population, was conducted between October 31 and November 2, 2007.

About SLI Systems
SLI Systems is the developer of learning-based search technology for corporate Internet sites, e-commerce destinations and consumer Internet portals that Searches, Learns and Improves the user experience. SLI Systems’ hosted site search and automated SEO solutions empower businesses to enhance customer satisfaction while increasing sales, reducing costs and yielding valuable customer information. Unlike traditional search software, SLI Systems’ patented technology continuously ‘learns’ from the behaviour of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results. Current customers include Etronics.com, NBC, Tupperware, and others. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in Silicon Valley, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand. For more information, visit www.sli-systems.com.

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