and Forrester Research Release State of Retailing Online (SORO) 2011 Report

By — 05.04.11 and Forrester Research have just released their State of Retailing Online (SORO) 2011 report. It contains a wealth of great data and insights that retailers will find useful. Naturally, some of the findings I thought were the most interesting related to paid search.

90% of the 68 online retailers surveyed indicated that in 2010 search engine marketing was one of their top three most effective customer acquisition tactics.

SEM held a commanding lead over the second most effective tactic—affiliate marketing—which was cited by only 49% of respondents. Moreover, SEM was the top acquisition source for all three types of Web retailers surveyed, including multichannel retailers, manufacturers, and online “pure plays.”

In terms of return on investment (ROI), paid search ranked second relative to email. This makes sense given that PPC is more of a customer acquisition tactic, whereas emails are sent to house files.

The effectiveness of PPC coupled to its high ROI helps explain why 61% of online retailers surveyed indicated they would increase their budgets for paid search in 2011 versus 2010.

Finally, I could not agree more with one of Forrester Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru’s conclusions that retailers should not neglect paid search, because “it continues to be the primary way in which consumers discover products and stores. Furthermore, there are significant opportunities to optimize search—few retailers are optimizing landing pages, adjusting keyword lists to dynamically accommodate for inventory fluctuations, or even adjusting copy on an as-needed basis.”

To learn more about the SORO report and obtain a copy, visit  The full report gives indepth coverage of marketing strategies including social commerce and mobile.

Image courtesy of Better Retailing.

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