Study Finds Retailers Slow to Invest in Online Customer Experience

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A new research report from RSR Research finds that retailers are still waiting for consumers to tell them what they want the online shopping experience to be. In the meantime, retailers are investing in foundational capabilities around product information and availability, and cautiously exploring Web 2.0 and mobile technologies.

It appears that the online market is diverging - online pure-plays are trying to differentiate themselves from multi-channel retailers by offering a larger product assortment and a differentiated customer experience in order to battle the cross-channel capabilities that they can't offer

According to a new RSR Research report, Playing Well with Others: eCommerce's Evolving Role in the Customer Experience, released today, retailers are holding back on investing in improving consumers' online shopping experience while they wait for consumers to figure out what they want that online experience to look like. Survey respondents, while concerned about providing a high quality online experience, are instead investing in foundational capabilities like product information and availability, and taking a cautious approach to next generation eCommerce technologies like Web 2.0 and mobile.

"Given that eCommerce is starting to have a better reputation for customer service than stores, we were surprised to see that the business challenges driving retailers' strategies today focus more on product-related issues," says Steve Rowen, Partner at RSR Research and one of the report's authors. "What's not surprising, however, is that online pure-play e-tailers are at the forefront of innovation in online shopping."

RSR's new publication, Playing Well with Others: eCommerce's Evolving Role in the Customer Experience, sponsored by Gomez and Microsoft Corp., also finds that some multi-channel retailers are not focused on a multi-channel strategy, but instead are trying to emulate pure-plays in building a "stand-alone" online experience for consumers. Laggards, retailers that under-perform the market in sales, were particularly prone to this issue.

"It appears that the online market is diverging - online pure-plays are trying to differentiate themselves from multi-channel retailers by offering a larger product assortment and a differentiated customer experience in order to battle the cross-channel capabilities that they can't offer," says Nikki Baird, Managing Partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report. "Some multi-channel retailers have recognized that cross-channel offers a real opportunity to provide a high-quality customer experience, but others appear to be blindly copying e-tailer pure-plays in an effort to boost their online presence. It's a real disadvantage, if you're primarily a store-based retailer, to ignore the advantages that cross-channel can give you."

According to the report, reviews, promotions, and mobility offer real opportunities for eCommerce, but many retailers are hampered by their existing systems and infrastructure supporting online shopping.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, click here or follow this link:

http://www.retailsystemsresearch.com/_document/summary/636

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