Stop Obsessing About E-commerce Sales and Focus on This

Web-influenced sales are a big deal. Just look at the stats for two major retailers below:

According to traditional e-commerce metrics, converts 1% of it’s traffic to customers and converts 2.2%.  But as the Retailgeek points out, that’s only part of the story:

“When you factor in the sales that start online and finish in the store, the true conversion rates are 61% for Home Depot and 25% for Best Buy. “

Unfortunately, most e-commerce administrators focus on managing their business’s for on-line sales, despite the fact that they’re more successful at generating brick and mortar sales.

It’s time for retailers to start thinking about cross-channel success criteria. Here’s why:

  • By 2021, Forrester expects 40% of in-store sales to be influenced by the internet during the customer’s purchase journey
  • Web-influenced sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% between 2016 to 2021—a forecast that calculates web-influenced sales across 31 retail categories, with historical data going back to 2004.
  • According to Forrester, “The day when almost all products are 100% web-influenced is rapidly approaching. Therefore, online presence is vital to retailer success, especially when web-influenced sales are more than three times larger than online sales.

EMarketer cites a 2018 Murphy study predicting that while roughly 70% of the US population will make a purchase digitally this year, more buying journeys will still end offline.

Forrester Research also shows that at least 50% of all retail sales in the US are digitally influenced—a number that’s expected to rise to 58% by 2022.

In another study by Statista, the distribution of web-influenced retail sales in the United States from 2014 to 2020 (sorted by segment) has been steadily growing and is projected to reach $1,616 billion by 2020.

Source: Statista


Evidence indicates that shoppers who use more channels are more valuable. In fact, the Retailgeek suggests a switch from thinking in terms of “Buy Now Conversions” and “Online Sales,” to “Cross-Channel Conversions” and “Total Influenced Sales.”

The Retailgeek goes on to say that it’s time to approach website features, information architectures, user personas, functionality testing, content development strategies, and ROI calculations with a goal to accommodate shoppers who start their purchase journey online and finish in-store.

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Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.