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Innotrac Shares SmartHub® Findings

ATLANTA, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Innotrac Corporation (NASDAQ: INOC), a best-of-breed commerce provider integrating digital technology, fulfillment, and contact center solutions to support global brands, today announced summary results of its latest SmartHub® eCommerce benchmark analysis, which was based on a sampling of orders placed in August of this year.

SmartHub®, Innotrac's proprietary benchmarking tool, provides clients and strategic partners with intelligence and analysis of the online retail purchase cycle.  The current release evaluated over 100 leading merchants across 56 data points, tracking the entire eCommerce experience from ordering, to shipping, packaging, customer service, and returns.  

"Returns are inevitable, but it's still not something that retailers like dealing with," said Melissa O'Keefe, Sr. Director of eCommerce and Marketing at Innotrac.  "We wanted to take a closer look at how returns impact the online shopping experience and what that means for retailers. While returns are about merchandise coming back, it's also about merchandise going out.  This special study provides insight into retailers' return policies which impact whether a consumer will actually make a purchase or even recommend a brand."

The August 2012 SmartHub® benchmarking study reports recent findings with a focus on the returns process.  Among the findings:
  • The returns process is an opportunity for retailers to increase conversion rates and overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Despite the fact that at least 62% of consumers admit to reviewing return policies prior to purchasing, over 30% of merchants still fail to provide detailed information about their policy on their website, specifically the window of time allowed for returns.  
  • Ease of returns ranks high on the list of consumer needs with regards to online ordering.  We found that only 25% of merchants include a return label in with the product shipment, while 9% require a call to initiate the return.
  • With over 15% of merchants, credit took 16 days or longer to appear after the product had been returned.  
  • Data from our April, June, and August 2012 order cycles shows a downward trend in the number of merchants who do not offer free shipping of any kind.  At the other end of the spectrum, the number of merchants who offer free shipping on all orders is increasing slightly.

The next benchmarking study is schedule to be published in January with the first release of SmartHub® 3.0.  This release update includes an additional 125 merchants into the SmartHub® sample, bringing the total merchant pool to 225.  New data points have also been added to the process, increasing from 56 to 81 touch points.  The 3.0 release ordering cycle coincidentally occurred at the same time Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, and will provide additional detail around how retailers perform (and communicate) in the face of a natural disaster.  

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