KEY POINTS

  • Shopping behavior continues to shift to the web and apps, but many top retailers underperform across a series of important e-commerce metrics. Benchmarking retailers on key performance indicators (or KPIs) allows them to see how they stack up against the industry and identify specific areas for improvement.
  • On the desktop, where most online sales still occur, the average site takes about three seconds to load. Costco had the fastest-loading site, while department stores like Sears and Saks underperformed the industry average.
  • Mobile is the breakout trend in e-commerce this year, but many retailers' mobile sites are still far slower than their desktop versions. The average mobile site loads in seven seconds. Some mobile retail sites even take 10 seconds or longer to load on a smartphone or tablet, which is frustrating to shoppers. 
  • Retailers that do the best job of leveraging their apps typically update them frequently, and this, in turn, often translates into higher app ratings. The newest e-commerce companies are doing the best jobs with their apps. The mobile shopping app Wanelo and grocery-delivery startup Instacart had the highest mobile-app rankings and updated often. EBay also has an app that is very well reviewed. 
  • Many retailers are under-leveraging social media during the holidays to drive traffic and sales. Macy's and other department stores did the best job generating social engagement on Facebook between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, while Amazon did not perform especially well relative to the number of posts the company put up.
  • Offering multiple shipping and payment options is proven to boost conversions and increase sales. But many online retailers still offer only one or two options, which can turn off customers who have very specific shipping needs or those who prefer specific payment methods like PayPal.

 

Introduction

As consumer shopping behavior shifts to the web and mobile, retailers need to be increasingly mindful of all the different e-commerce channels and how their services and sites stack up against those of competitors and the industry at large. These key performance indicators, or KPIs, allow retailers to benchmark themselves in specific areas of online commerce. Identifying the areas in which a retailer can improve allows that retailer to make adjustments that can help businesses capture a larger share of the e-commerce and retail market.

In this report, we measure retailers on a variety of KPIs, including desktop and mobile site performance as [...]