Litmus7 Launches the Retail Industry’s Most Comprehensive Digital Performance Benchmarking Series

Geared towards the US market, the Retail Hive benchmark series evaluates retailers on their digital presence and quality of experience. Each report in the series compares leading retailers in a specific sub-vertical, such as general merchandise, grocery, and beauty. The inaugural report in the series is on the general merchandise market. The study is based on in-depth quantitative analysis and domain knowledge built over a decade serving some of the largest and sophisticated retailers in the world.

San Francisco, CA – August 13, 2019

Litmus7, a 100% retail-focused technology service provider, today announced the launch of the first in a series of digital performance benchmarking reports. It’s a best-in-class, quantitative assessment of leading retailers’ digital commerce proposition. The report answers two questions – how likely are you to find the retailer on the web, and if you do – are you likely to have a good experience.

The one-of-a-kind evaluation encompasses digital presence (SEO, SEM, display/retargeting, and email marketing effectiveness) and quality of experience (does the feature set conform to established norms of user experience?). Retailers will find a wealth of data points and associated analysis that can potentially shape their digital marketing strategy and product roadmap.

“The Retail Hive benchmarks complement our RetailSingularity vision that is geared towards designing and driving the digital future of retail,” said Venu Gopalakrishnan – Global CEO and Founder, Litmus7.

The Retail Hive benchmarks position retailers on a two dimensional matrix. The horizontal axis evaluates the ‘quality of experience’ offered by retailers based on their web/mobile site user experience and site engagement metrics. The vertical axis evaluates the ‘digital presence’ of retailers based on organic and paid search results, direct and referral traffic, social media effectiveness, display ad performance, and email marketing effectiveness.

The Retail Hive benchmark series draws insights into retailers’ digital capabilities from proprietary frameworks, industry-leading databases, desk research, and a decade of industry experience.

The first report focuses on the general merchandise market:

This particular edition of the Retail Hive series of benchmarking reports evaluates, ranks, and compares the 10 leading ‘general merchandise’ retailers in the US including Amazon, Costco, Dollar General, eBay, Kohl’s, Overstock, Sears, Target, Walmart, and The report sheds light on the current state of the industry, vectors of change, retailers’ positioning on the matrix relative to each other, and an in-depth analysis of each retailer’s digital performance.

“The general merchandise industry in the US is at an inflection point, where the online business now forms more than a third of all general merchandise retail sales,” said Ashish Chaturvedi (Author) – Manager, Digital Advisory Services, Litmus7.

Chaturvedi noted that, “this report can act as an important decision-making basis for retailers’ go-to-market considerations, self-evaluation, and formulating product roadmaps.”

Beyond the general merchandise market, Litmus7 plans to come up with similar reports covering other key retail segments. Future reports will focus on areas such as grocery, beauty, and fashion.

The “Retail Hive benchmark – general merchandise retailers” is available here

Some key findings of the report include the following:

The online general merchandising business is inching closer to the physical store business in size. The general merchandise industry has been quickly morphing into a “heavily online” segment with e-commerce sales accounting for somewhere between a quarter and a third of all general merchandise sales.

Amazon is winning on most fronts. Be it magnitude or impact, Amazon emerged as a clear winner across most digital dimensions. For example: In Q1 2019, Amazon’s conversion rate of 7.9% was the highest in the general merchandise industry. It’s almost 50% higher than the retailer who secured the second position. In Q1 2019, Amazon came up with 16,460 creatives on 12,267 publishing sites translating into 15.98 million ad views; almost 5 times higher than the next best retailer.

Target is the most engaging on social media. In Q1 2019, Target achieved the highest engagement—the sum of likes/shares/repost divided by the number of posts—across Facebook (5346), Twitter (17553) and Instagram (29810).

Site traffic via direct channel gains further importance. The traffic share via direct channel rose to 61.52% in Q1 2019 from 55.45% during Q4 2017, suggesting well-entrenched loyalties and well-formed buying habits.

Branded keywords dictate search traffic performance. The SEO and SEM are now largely driven by “branded keywords”, which now form three-quarters of all search keyword traffic (reinforces the point above on entrenched loyalties).

The industry-standard for UX is constantly moving target. The features that were regarded as cutting-edge a year ago are must-have now. The new normal in e-commerce includes features such as single page checkouts, a good product recommendation engine, ease of navigation, an optimized search function, and convenient delivery options.

Email marketing is losing its sheen. Over the years, the traffic contribution from email marketing has taken a big hit. Currently, it stands at 2.7% of the overall traffic, down from 5.2% in the last quarter of 2017.

About Litmus7

Litmus7, a 100% retail design niche company established its digital leadership with the world’s leading retailers since 2009. Predictable engineering services and solutions for the future are its core focus areas. Well recognised for its engineering excellence, having implemented large eCommerce initiatives for several top retailers. Litmus7’s deep involvement in transformations has created unique success stories, making it one of the most loved retail engineering companies. With highly skilled retail technologists and domain specialists spread across 5 global locations (US, India, UK, Canada and  UAE), Litmus7’s portfolio includes Digital Experience (UI/UX, Mobility, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Consumer Store), Store, eCommerce, Analytics, Core Retail Marketing, DevOps, Integrations and Microservices.