ChannelAdvisor (NYSE: ECOM) went public just a year ago, but the Morrisville-based provider of international ecommerce services has not let up on new product development. Looking for ways to expand its market, the company hired an outside research firm to conduct an in-depth survey among hundreds of firms utilizing ecommerce. What did ChannelAdvisor find out, and how are the results shaping future plans?

WRAL TechWire has the details for Insider subscribers.

First, the key survey results as provided by Redshift Research, which gathered information from more than 200 online retailers with revenue ranging from $3-$5 million in the U.S. and U.K.

Key Findings:

Marketplaces: More than three-fourths of surveyed retailers (84 percent) are currently selling on Amazon, and more than half of retailers (63 percent) reported selling on eBay. Retailers said that the most challenging aspect of selling on marketplaces is maintaining competitive pricing.

Cross-Border Trade: Nearly a third (30 percent) of retailers surveyed reported that 21-30 percent of their online sales come from international marketplaces. Retailers reported that global marketplaces are the number one point of sale for these international transactions. The majority of surveyed retailers (62 percent) think that Amazon provides the best opportunity to sell internationally.

Digital Marketing: Retailers reported that product listing ads are a top digital marketing strategy in terms of performance. Budget, confusion about options and the digital marketing landscape, and uncertain return on investment are the three most common factors preventing retailers from increasing their digital marketing spend.

Mobile Advertising: Almost half of surveyed retailers (40 percent) reported that 21-30 percent of their current web traffic comes from mobile devices. Most retailers (86 percent) think that web traffic from mobile devices will increase over the next two years. To prepare, 75 percent of surveyed retailers expect to increase their mobile advertising budget in the next two years.

Social Media: Retailers’ top three business goals for social media are to increase brand awareness, reach a new generation of customers and drive conversions. Surveyed retailers said Facebook is the social platform that creates the most conversions for retailers.

Inside the Survey

After reading the survey, WRAL TechWire reached out to ChannelAdvisor with a series of questions about how the company planned to respond.

Link Walls, ChannelAdvisor’s vice president of Product Management, provided the answers. 

  • Just over a year after going public and continuing to grow, why did you decide to conduct this survey? And why this target range of customers? Are they primary market for CA?

We’re always keeping a pulse of challenges and opportunities that retailers are facing. We commissioned Redshift Research to conduct the study to hear from a broader group of retailers beyond ChannelAdvisor customers. The survey respondents are anonymous and are not sales targets by any means.

  • How can CA capitalize on the data generated from the survey? Does this not give you selling points to drive your own products such as pricing updates and helping limit market confusion?

We wanted to find out what strategies retailers are using to optimize their online sales. Ecommerce is a complicated and competitive landscape. We’re working tirelessly to innovate our product offering and stay ahead of the industry to address emerging challenges retailers are facing when selling online.

  • Does CA see a market opportunity in growing mobile commerce, and if so how do you capitalize? Are CA solutions geared to a mobile app environment?

eMarketer expect 4.55 billion people worldwide to use a mobile phone in 2014, and our survey results indicate retailers are preparing for the mobile movement. Each of our products help retailers optimize their mobile commerce capabilities in some capacity, whether through Marketplaces or Digital Marketing. There are a number of opportunities that retailers can embrace such as Yahoo Gemini or social opportunities via mobile:

  • Could CA capitalize on confusion in digital advertising space – i.e. does CA offer digital marketing coordination/solutions or is this a possible growth area?

ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing ensures that retailers’ products are front and center on global, local or mobile search engine results pages with paid search, comparison shopping engines and Google Shopping campaigns:

  • How can CA help clients better exploit social media, especially FB as a marketing opportunity?

We help retailers join conversations and showcase products on social media with support of different features such as Rich Pins on Pinterest. We’re also seeing social media sites hint at expanding their e-commerce offerings. For example, Facebook recently announced via blog post they are testing a new feature/ad unit that allows consumers to buy directly from a retailer and not have to leave Facebook:

  • The finding about international marketplaces seems to support your recent decision to expand to China. Might CA further expand its global footprint?

We believe marketplaces are eating the ecommerce world and provide opportunities for retailers to expand their international reach. International borders are blurring, and the ecommerce revolution has become a global phenomenon.

  • What is the biggest impediment(s) to international selling at this point, and how is CA trying to address that/ those?

Surveyed retailers said that the top three hurdles to cross-border sales are shipping and logistic concerns, regulations and currency issues. We support retailers’ global expansion efforts both technically and strategically with our Agile Cross-Border Trade Framework:

  • Are you concerned about Amazon’s growing presence in marketplaces? What happens if Amazon grows to a near-monopoly in this space such as Google in search? What would such a development mean for CA?

Marketplaces such as Amazon are top of mind for retailers. Amazon provides a great opportunity for retailers to sell their products online and increase their brand exposure. We work closely with retailers to maximize their exposure on Amazon.