Winning the battle online for business means more than just recruiting the most customers, a survey of 100 E-commerce leaders concludes. True victory means keeping those customers true – for life.

That’s why most companies with leading E-commerce sites – 93 percent of those responding to a recent survey by International Data Corp. – have launched aggressive customer-loyalty initiatives. The most popular approach: personalization. About 75 percent offer customized content, products or services.

IDC’s research suggests that E-commerce efforts aren’t for the faint of heart or light of wallet. On average, survey participants spent nearly US$6 million to build their sites, $8.6 million annually to promote them, and $4.3 million annually to maintain them.

Other survey findings: