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More product information can boost online sales, study finds

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Online sales have driven big increases in shipping in recent years.

Consumers are more likely to purchase products online if retailers include recommendations about the merchandise, a new study has found.

The report underscores the importance of catering to consumers, whose online purchases have fueled major increases in shipping in recent years.

“Product recommendations are key to driving e-commerce performance,” said Lucinda Duncalfe, chief executive of Monetate, the marketing technology company that conducted the study.

Although online sales are expected to double by 2018, Monetate’s research suggests shoppers have become more selective.

The so-called conversion rate — which measures the share of online browsers who end up making a purchase — dropped 2.32 percent at the beginning of the year when compared to the same period in 2014.

Bounce rates, which measure the number of consumers who visit a site without browsing or purchasing, rose almost 6 percent.

Merchants can reverse the trend by giving consumers more information about products, Monetate found. One example: Microsoft’s bounce rate dropped 35 percent after it overhauled its shopping site, including adding product recommendations.

“[A] brand has to up its game,” Duncalfe said.

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