August 2012 ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) for eBay, Amazon, Search and CSE

September 10, 2012

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Note: This is a monthly feature published by ChannelAdvisor highlighting the Same Store Sales (SSS) across our wide range of thousands of retailers and billions in GMV.  Details on the SSS including methodology and schedule can be found in January’s post.

Today we are releasing August 2012 data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.

New this month – Google Shopping/PLA Supplemental Data

Since Google announced that the free Google Product Search (GPS) CSE offering will be sunset in the USA and moved to the new Google Shopping (based on Product Listing Ads) cpc-based CSE offering, we have been getting a lot of questions from retailers about the impact this change is having across the board.  Note that recently, ChannelAdvisor announced a comprehensive new solution for Google Shopping as part of our Autumn Release.  Details can be found here. We believe this solution is very unique to the industry because we are strategically able to look at both the datafeed and search parts of the program.

We’ll continue to cover the macro-factors within the CSE line item, but we are going to start supplying on a monthly basis a couple of new GS/PLA datapoints:

  • Average Order Value (AOV) trends: In this metric we will track the average order value changes on a y/y basis.  We will always look at GPS+GS current year to GPS+GS last year – the mix will obviously change (e.g. this month the August 11 data will be all GPS for prior year and a mix of GPS+GS this year.  As the program moves from free to paid, we would expect the AOV to tick up as retailers tend to not CPC-rates for low ASP items.
  • Conversion Rates (CR)trends: Simply put, this is the % of traffic that retailers receive (free from GPS And paid from GS) that turns into purchases.  If Google succeeds in making the program more relevant for consumers and an effective spend for retailer’s will increase.  If Google does not succeed in delivering relevant results, it will decrease.

This data is provided in the ‘Supplemental data for Google Shopping / PLA’ sub-section and will be included going forward.

August 2012 SSS Results  

  • Amazon – In August, Amazon’s SSS were 40.7% y/y, continuing their greater than 2X growth-rate compared to Comscore’s reported e-commerce growth rate (15% in Q2).
  • eBay –  eBay came in at a healthy  23.9%, which was down slightly from July’s 28.2%, but continuing to show strong growth through Q3. Details in the eBay section below.
  • CSE – Comparison Shopping Engines decelerated coming in at down 13.1%.  Details on this decrease are in the CSE sub-section.
  • Search – Search continued to be a bit sluggish coming in at down .6%.  Search details are below.

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for August 2011 through August 2012: (click to enlarge)

Aug_sss_overall_chart

 

CSE Trends

As mentioned, CSE SSS were down 13.1%.  Historically CSEs have come under pressure from Google SEO changes, but starting in July the big change was due to less sales being driven by the google programs as they transition from free to paid.  There aren’t a lot of case studies of this scale of a free program moving to paid, but what we are seeing makes sense:

  • Google is moving traffic from free (GPS) to paid (GS)
  • Retailers continue to participate in the free program at a 100% rate
  • A smaller % are participating in the paid-program than 100%.
  • The retailers that are participating are watching the economics

Taken together those last two bullets are responsible for all of the declines we have seen in CSE over the last two months.

As the October deadline comes, we believe this will bottom out and we’ll see a reversal heading into the Holidays as retailers adopt the program and start to ramp their economics.

eBay Details

eBay’s August 23.9% y/y SSS % growth was down a bit from July.  To get a feel for what’s driving the marketplaces’ performance, here are the interior datapoints for the month:

  • eBay auctions – down 12.2% y/y – Last month the auction format stabilized at down 1% and in August we saw it dip to down greater than 10%.  It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of this decline.  Common factors are: auction supply, search-engine/bestmatch auction mix, consumer’s lack of bidding on the format.
  • eBay fixed-price – up 29.1% y/y – In July, fixed price growth was 33.1%, so there was a bit of a slow-down in this format as well, but not as pronounced as auctions. It’s important to note that this is 2X the comscore e-commerce growth rate and shows that buyers continue to vote for the fixed-price format with their wallets.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) – Up 34.8%, a very close performance to July’s 36%. eBay continues to execute very well in this category.

After looking at the details, eBay’s August slight slowdown was primarily due to the auction format and a little dip in the fixed-price format.

Here are the YTD trends on these eBay internals:

Aug_sss_ebay_details

In a couple of Wall St. appearances (Chris Payne @ Citi and Devin Wenig @ Goldman Sachs) eBay executives telegraphed a bunch of new initiatives:

  • ETRS-2 – A revamp of the top rated seller program
  • More vertical (think eBay Motors) buyer experiences
  • More CBT offerings/focus  – BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China)
  • Cassini going into Beta (eBay’s new hadoop-based search technology)
  • Mobile – Payne said that: “While mobile GMV could exceed $10B in 2012, total indirect and direct mobile GMV contribution could exceed 2X the reported sales volumes as buyers interface with mobile devices several times over the purchase cycle on eBay.”
  • Wenig said they are seeing steady consumer demand

It will be interesting to see which of these initiatives impacts the holiday selling period as we head into Q4.

 

Supplemental data for Search

The supplemental paid-search details for August are available in this table:

Aug_sss_search

Search was somewhat sluggish in August as Google continues to move traffic that traditionally went through ‘sponsored listings’ or text ads or AdWords. (check out this post on sister site CSEStrategies for details and examples).   As you look at the supplemental search data, you see CR and AOV were under a bit of pressure.  This makes sense as consumers that see the much more graphical and detailed GS/PLA listings are likely to head over to that part of the page.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

As discussed in the introduction, the new Google Shopping supplemental datapoints follow:

Aug_sss_gs_pla

Both the AOV and CR are up considerably indicating that the early days of the Google Shopping program are being well received by consumers and participating retailers that are focused on ROI are moving their economics as well.

Conclusions

Next month, we’ll provide the September data which will finish off Q3 and give us a good read for the holiday selling season.

Written by Scot Wingo  – CEO and co-founder, ChannelAdvisor Corporation