As retailers, brands and marketplaces alike increasingly invest in easy, intuitive user experiences on their eCommerce channels, consumers are coming back to digital more and more.

According to data from the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, reported Tuesday (March 12), sales at online retailers and other non-store merchants were up a whopping 18% year over year in February.

This rise comes as retailers’ investments in the digital experience pays off. Costco, for instance, recently cut down the loading time for its native mobile app homepage on iOS by a factor of 4, from eight seconds to two seconds.

Macy’s has been improving the checkout experience on its digital platforms.

Footlocker has been removing friction from its digital platforms.

Stitch Fix has been looking to streamline consumers’ eCommerce experiences to make them more “fun and easy,” per CEO Matt Baer’s recent comments.

Retail giants Walmart and Amazon have been racing to provide the most immersive online shopping experiences through technologies such as virtual try-ons.

Key to retailers’ efforts to improve their digital experiences is a focus on meeting the specific needs of their customers, rather than on catering to some broader idea of what a shopper might theoretically want. For instance, Sean Knotts, director of global eCommerce at Sonos, told PYMNTS in a February conversation that the company has been retooling the cart and checkout experiences to cater to consumers’ hesitancy around high-touch purchases.

“Millions of users add to cart on, and just 40% of those users actually continue to start checkout, so if you can improve that rate a little bit, you’re actually going to see a huge net impact,” Knotts said. “So, we ran … some user testing, and that indicated that actually moving away from the very ubiquitous single-page checkout flow to a three-step design, which … used to be the industry norm, was actually 4% easier for users to navigate.”

Across retail segments, these bets are proving to be worthwhile, with the considerable majority consumers very or extremely satisfied with their eCommerce experiences, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence report “The Online Features Driving Consumers to Shop With Brands, Retailers or Marketplaces,” created in collaboration with Adobe.

The study, which drew from a survey of more than 3,500 U.S. consumers, found that, on average, 80% of consumers are satisfied with their experiences shopping with online marketplaces, as are 76% of those who make purchases from retailers’ sites and 72% of those who purchase directly from brands.

Retailers’ investments in their digital platforms are translating to loyalty. Fifty percent of consumers surveyed said that they consider how easy the checkout process is when selecting a digital merchant, and 40% said the same of how easy to navigate the merchant’s online store is.

Plus, when consumers grow accustomed to the convenience of eCommerce, many begin to rely on it for more and more of their daily needs. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “The Replenish Economy: A Household Supply Deep Dive” found that approximately 42% of retail subscribers visit physical stores less frequently due to their current online subscriptions.

At the forefront of retail’s digital shift are categories such as health and beauty and apparel, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Digital Payments Takeover: Catching the Coming eCommerce Wave,” created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services.

As highlighted by the staggering rise in online sales, propelled by retailers’ investments in digital platforms, the dividends of prioritizing user-centric design and seamless transactions are clear. From giants like Walmart and Amazon pioneering immersive shopping experiences to niche players like Sonos reimagining the checkout process, the retail industry is witnessing a fundamental transformation.

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