RSR Research Findings: Retailers Turn to eCommerce as Digital Channels Platform

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Retailers, whether online pureplays or cross-channel retailers with brick and mortar stores, increasingly rely on their eCommerce platform as their central digital face to the customer, according to a new study, “eCommerce 2012: Back to the Future”, by RSR Research.

Even though retailers expect more revenue to ultimately come from the online channel than ever before, they are challenged every day to keep up with evolving consumer behavior.

Retailers, whether online pureplays or cross-channel retailers with brick and mortar stores, increasingly rely on their eCommerce platform as their central digital face to the customer, according to a new study, “eCommerce 2012: Back to the Future”, by RSR Research. In concert with this priority, the 94 retailers surveyed in this benchmark report that they are investing in content management and product-level social media integration, and delaying investments in in-store platforms like point of sale as they evaluate potential in-store uses for their eCommerce platforms.

"Even though retailers expect more revenue to ultimately come from the online channel than ever before, they are challenged every day to keep up with evolving consumer behavior,” said Steve Rowen, Managing Partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report, “You really can’t overemphasize the importance of having an exciting online shopping experience that understands the customer’s lifestyle – and how the brand and products can engage and suit that lifestyle. This report shows how the best performers understand that, how they are thinking and acting differently, and as a result, offers up some valuable lessons for ALL retailers to consider.”

Key Findings include:

  •     Operationally, retailers report that their top challenges are understanding how different customer segments engage online and difficulty coordinating with other channels to create a seamless cross-channel experience. Laggards don’t even know where to start in creating a differentiated online experience; Winners have made significant inroads, understanding that inventory plays a key role.
  •     The biggest eCommerce opportunities come from the cross-channel imperative. Retail Winners agree that the eCommerce platform will serve as the central point of all digital activity across channels; laggards have less clarity.
  •     Winners ascribe much higher value to such technologies as Product-level Social Networking Integration, Site Performance Monitoring, Distributed Order Management, Internationalization of Site, User Tagging/Personalization, Product Video, and Self-learning Search/Facets.

"eCommerce 2012: Back to the Future” contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding exciting new uses of eCommerce in retail. It also offers up baseline recommendations for successful eCommerce strategies. The report is part of RSR Research's ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends, is sponsored by Kiva Systems, Manhattan Associates, and Oracle, and supported by ShowUHow, and can be downloaded here: http://www.retailsystemsresearch.com/_document/summary/1390

About RSR Research:
Retail Systems Research (“RSR”) is the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry. RSR provides insight into business and technology challenges facing the extended retail industry, and thought leadership and advice on navigating these challenges for specific companies and the industry at large. RSR’s services include benchmark reports covering the state of retailer technology adoption for topics ranging from merchandising and supply chain, store operations and workforce management, to customer-facing and multi-channel technologies. Custom research reports provide more in-depth views into topics of industry interest, and advisory services help retailers and technology vendors make the most of the insights RSR provides. To learn more about RSR, visit http://www.rsrresearch.com.

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Linda Wolfe
Retail Systems Research
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