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Non-profit organisation the eCommerce Foundation has today launched a free e-commerce benchmarking tool that aims to help businesses compare activity with competitors anonymously – and for free. 

The benchmark’s website takes the shape of a straightforward questionnaire, intended for B2B or B2C merchants and retailers. 

Created in collaboration with software company hybris and product information specialist Unic, this is the first global initiative of the eCommerce Foundation. 

To take part, simply visit the website, answer some questions and you’ll be given direct feedback on over 100 e-commerce KPIs.

You’ll then be presented with a report that covers four key areas:

  • Website: this relates to website traffic and its sources, conversion ratios, page views, bounce rate and visit length.
  • Financial: average transaction costs, ICT costs, fulfilment costs per order and budget allocations.
  • Internal Organisation: takes into consideration the positioning of the e-commerce department within the organisation, number of fulltime equivalents (FTE) per position and such.
  • Innovation: focus points for innovation, innovation plans and innovation budget allocation.

The foundation says that this provides participants with instant access to detailed information that is relevant to decision making at a board level.

These results can then be used to create a more accurate roadmap with targets that should help businesses to improve overall online performance, including stronger results.

As participants are able to enter the required data via a non-company address to ensure entire anonymity, each benchmark that enters the system is manually checked to detect any false data that might have been submitted and to ensure the benchmark remains true as possible.

Professor Cor Molenaar from Erasmus University and one of the eCommerce Foundation’s key supporters explained that retailers are understandably reticent about disclosing business critical data.

This has acted as a barrier to entry of any previous industry benchmarking tools, but security of data is paramount.”

Though this project seems to be fairly US-focused, this could prove to be a useful benchmarking tool for e-commerce businesses, though will become more so as participants grow. The only trouble will be policing it, since even manual checks can't catch every mistake - purposeful or otherwise.

Vikki Chowney

Published 9 January, 2012 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

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