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New Benchmarking Research Reveals Which Retailers are Offering the Best Digital Experience this Holiday Gift Giving Season

Connecting Content and Commerce Key to Meeting the Needs of Today’s Empowered, “Digitally Distracted” Shoppers

IRVINE, Calif. – November 30, 2015 -- U.S. online sales are expected to top $3 billion for the first time this Cyber Monday, marking the single largest day for digital sales in history. But while consumers are ready and willing to do their holiday shopping online, many will encounter a digital experience that’s less than ideal.

Which retailers are prepared to offer the best digital experience to consumers this holiday shopping season? That’s the question asked and answered in new U.S. Retail Website Benchmarking Study issued today by Episerver™, a leading provider of digital marketing and digital commerce solutions.

The benchmarking research analyzed 15 online retailers’ across 5 popular holiday gift categories -- Apparel and Accessories, Floral, General Gift, Stationery, and Toys and Games -- to assess their proficiency in connecting content and commerce to support an optimal digital experience. The following retail websites were evaluated: 1800flowers.com, bosca.com, burlingtoncoatfactory.com, gifts.com, hearthsong.com, levenger.com, mastermindtoys.com, melissaanddoug.com, moleskine.com, mud-pie.com, proflowers.com, rossstores.com, teleflora.com, thepaperstore.com, and tjmaxx.tjx.com.

Sites were ranked on proficiency in the following content and commerce competencies:

  • Breadth and Depth: Content in a commerce context can simply mean the use of images, but implementing a real breadth and depth of methods allows retailers to engage with more of their audience.
  • Distribution: A core purpose of content in commerce is to provide a reason to communicate with customers at additional touch points as part of a multichannel strategy, particularly as sales messages may not work well in some channels, such as social media.
  • Value: This competency is about providing value in content strategy and the planning that it involves.
  • Effectiveness: There are numerous ways to measure the effectiveness of a content strategy, depending on an organization’s goals.
  • Brand: Content must have value for customers, have potential to drive sales but it should also be aligned with the retailer’s brand.
  • Balance: Achieving a balance between sales messages, product content and calls to action is what makes marrying content and commerce difficult.

A Connected Content and Commerce Call to Action

With the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate hovering near 70%, online retailers are getting plenty of website traffic, but not having nearly as much success in sales conversions. Since the competition is only a mere click away, online retailers must offer a rich customer experience that’s a more sustainable and profitable strategy beyond discounting. The key to providing this rich digital experience, says Episerver, is connecting content with commerce.

“There’s a lot of talk about connecting content and commerce in digital experience, but not a lot of action; few organizations are seamlessly integrating content and commerce,” said Bob Egner, Vice President of Product Marketing for Episerver. “Aside from identifying digital experience leaders in the retail space and best practices, our U.S. Retail Benchmarking Study also provides valuable insights and a self-assessment framework to help retailers discern opportunities for improvement in their content and commerce strategies.”

Digital engagement scenarios require interoperability between digital commerce and Web Content Management (WCM), according to industry analyst firm Gartner. In a recent report[i], Gartner analysts say, “Digital business strategies are challenging companies to develop an engaging customer experience delivered through a combination of digital commerce and Web Content Management (WCM). Organizations are challenged when developing the necessary common vision for digital commerce and WCM, due primarily to both organizational and technology silos.”

Analysis for the U.S. Retail Website Benchmarking Study was conducted in September and October 2015 by a market research affiliate of Lutz Public Relations & Marketing Communications.

About Optimizely (Episerver)

At Optimizely (Episerver), we're on a mission to help people unlock their digital potential. With our leading digital experience platform (DXP), we equip teams with the tools and insights they need to create and optimize in new and novel ways. Now, companies can operate with data-driven confidence to create hyper-personalized experiences. Building sophisticated solutions has never been simpler. Optimizely’s 900+ partners and 1100+ employees in offices around the globe are proud to help more than 9,000 brands, including Toyota, Santander, eBay, KLM and Mazda, enrich their customer lifetime value, increase revenue and grow their brands. Learn more at optimizely.com.

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Media Contacts:

Rachel Teitt Gill
Director of Corporate Communications, Optimizely
+1 740-815-1588
rachel.teitt@optimizely.com

Lucas Strombeck
Sr. Public Relations Manager, Walker Sands
+1 312-561-2485
lucas.strombeck@walkersands.com