Where do e-commerce sites generate traffic from?

Where do e-commerce sites generate traffic from?

The explosion of new technologies has created new channels for e-commerce sites to generate traffic from. This means e-commerce sites need to better manage their integrated marketing communications. To do this effectively they need to know where e-commerce sites generate traffic from.

Magento 2014 benchmark study asked approx. 4300 marketers where they generate traffic from. Here is the findings of this study.

1. Which channel is ‘the king’ (by revenue)

Even with the emergence of new channels like social media the ‘traditional’ channels continue to dominant. Email remains the leader across the board generating between 43% to 78% of traffic to e-commerce sites.

These figures are interesting when the industry is claiming we are flooding customer’s inboxes with emails. Let’s hope e-commerce sites start creating personalised marketing so open rates and click through rates hold their own.

Channels that Drive Significant Traffic (by revenue)

Channels that Drive Significant Traffic (by revenue)


The next best traffic source is organic search. However for e-commerce sites with revenue of $100K – $1M organic and email are even.

Social media and paid advertising are third and fourth in line depending on an e-commerce’s sites revenue. For example, with revenues between $0 – $10K social media generates 58% of their traffic. Where are paid advertising generates 19% of their traffic. For e-commerce sites generating $10M plus paid advertising to generating the most traffic. This may be the direct result of an e-commerce sites marketing budget.

Content marketing is starting to make in roads. It will be interesting to watch this channel over time especially with Google changing their algorithms so fresh and relevant content improves your ranking.

So where do e-commerce sites generate traffic? The answer is emails first, followed by organic traffic. Then it’s changes based on an e-commerce’s sites revenue.

2. Traffic source by product type

The study investigated whether there was a change when looking at the results by product type. The results remains consistent across all channels. There was a spike for apparel, footwear and accessories with email generating more traffic.

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Channels that Drive Significant Traffic (by product type)

Channels that Drive Significant Traffic (by product type)


Social media generates more generic by product types than paid advertising for generating traffic . Content marketing generates more traffic for business services, publishing, media and entertainment.

So where do e-commerce sites generate traffic? The answer is once again by email for product types, followed by organic search and social media. Paid advertising isn’t pulling in the same results here as by revenue.

Article wrap up

So where do e-commerce site generate traffic and how does that impact on your sites ability to manage an integrated marketing plan. Basically email is still king and will be for the foreseeable future. However, as a company you need to ensure your emails are relevant to each customer and not generic to maintain email open and click through rates.

Organic search traffic comes in next, so you need to keep up your SEO and keep abreast of any changes that search engines like Google make to their algorithms or you might find your traffic is wiped out over night.

The study’s results give marketers some strong reasons why social media is important to their online store and why their efforts aren’t wasted.

Unfortunately the study doesn’t look at these channels by return on investment (ROI). This is a real shame as traffic is only as good as the ROI it generates. Based on our client base, we have seen different variations on which channels perform better. The more they use data to make decisions the better the ROI is per channel.


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