Edgecase Research: Online Retailers Need To Add The ‘Human Touch’

Despite the rise in online sales, e-Commerce conversion rates are still significantly low compared to in-store results, according to a recent report from Edgecase. While the average conversion rate for stores is between 20% and 40%, it is only 3% online.

Many consumers still prefer the brick-and-mortar experience because there is an element of “human touch,” according to the report, titled: Lost In Translation: Evolving Merchandising To Bridge The Shopper Communication Gap.

In stores, consumers have the opportunity to touch and feel products, and sift through items based on a variety of factors: Size, color, pattern and fit, to name a few. They also have the opportunity to engage one-on-one with associates who can guide them along the decision-making journey. But as they shop online, consumers are sometimes limited in their search capabilities. This is because brands and retailers may be lacking in their search attributes, which can prevent customers from finding the item they’re looking for.


To find out how current site navigation strategies stack up, Edgecase audited 220 web sites across 10 retail categories. During the auditing process, the company identified benchmarks for how shoppers can navigate — based on a number of product attributes — and the languages they are able to use.

Of all retail verticals, health and beauty had the lowest number of attribute categories (two), with brand, price and features being the most common attributes. Apparel and accessories offered a median of three attribute categories, with most honing in on color, size and brand. However, the most unique attributes were features, origin and shipping options.

On the other end of the spectrum, e-Commerce sites in electronics offered a median of eight attribute categories, with price, brand and features being the most common. Sensor size, frames/sec and battery life were deemed the most unique attribute categories. Office supply retailers were next in line, offering an average of seven attribute categories. Quantity, grip type and cap color were the most unique attributes.

In addition to analyzing retailer web sites, Edgecase offered recommendations for new attribute categories that will make the search experience more dynamic.

Click here to download the complete report.

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