E‑commerce sites to improve product recommendations

To understand the full extent of the recession in the U.S. consider the 2% drop in  e‑commerce spending in 2009. Total spending for the year leveled out at $209.6 billion and was broadly divided between travel e‑commerce spending at $79.8 billion and retail e‑commerce spending at $129.8 billion according to comScore.

A closer look at the details reveals reason for optimism for 2010. For example, while e‑commerce spending dropped during the summer months of 2009, spending increased in November and December and that momentum is expected to carry into 2010.

Categories with the best growth rates and those that might therefore continue on a positive trajectory in 2010 include:

  • Books & magazines
  • Computer software (not PC games)
  • Sports & fitness items
  • Jewelry & watches
  • Video games, consoles & accessories

The comScore study also noted that a ChoiceSteam survey might reveal one reason for the drop in e‑commerce spending. Nearly 6 in 10 survey respondents did not find high quality product recommendations on retailer web sites. Consumers listed the following problems with recommendations that many have come to rely on:

  • Recommendations did not relate to their search 54%
  • Recommendations did not match their preferences 49%
  • Recommendations were inappropriate 46%

Given these details, it’s a safe bet that marketers will be tweaking their Web sites and looking to use comments effectively for the 2010 shopping season.

[Source: E‑commerce Spending Falls First Time, comScore, February 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.