The most valuable e-commerce opportunities identified by retailers with comparable store/channel sales growth of over 4% (“winners”) are improving online merchandising and assortment (65%), providing richer product detail information, such as photo and video (61%), and investing in cross-channel capabilities (59%), according to [download page] a report released in January 2012 by RSR Research. By contrast, retailers with comparable store/channel sales growth of less than 4% (“laggards”) find the greatest value in improving search and browse capabilities (57%), although half also see the value of improving online merchandising and investing in cross-channel capabilities.
Retailers’ priorities appear to be in line with those of their consumers: according to an Oracle study released in December 2011, the leading improvements US and Canadian consumers want from online shopping sites are more detailed and visual product information (37%) and better search (29%).
Data from RSR’s “eCommerce 2012 – Back to the Future” indicates that overall, retail respondents appear to be skeptical of third-party deals such as Groupon and Living Social, with almost two-thirds saying these deals pose little or no opportunity. They are also less than enthused by deals of the day under their own brand – with 38% saying they posed little or no value. Laggards seem more enamored by deals than winners, with 29% believing that promotional offers are very valuable opportunities, compared to 14% of winners.
On an encouraging note, retailers are starting to better prioritize and manage the resources necessary to capitalize on the online opportunities available to them: 43% of respondents said they do not have enough e-commerce resources to manage all the available opportunities, representing a 27% decline from 59% of retailers who responded that way the previous year.
The difficulty of quantifying ROI continues to be a concern, though, cited by 53% of respondents, up from 47% the prior year. Similarly, more respondents said that existing technology infrastructure is preventing them from moving forward, and that there is little capital investment available (both at 51% compared to 45% the previous year).
Slightly more than half of the retailers surveyed said that more coordination with marketing was very valuable in order to overcome the organizational inhibitors to improving e-commerce processes, suggesting that communication challenges exist between e-commerce and the marketing department. Other leading ways to overcome internal roadblocks include investment in a streamlined technology platform or infrastructure (58%), and designating an executive tasked with managing and improving the overall customer experience (52%).
About the Data: RSR conducted an online survey from September to December 2011 and received answers from 94 qualified retail respondents across the world. 31% had 2010 revenue of less than $50 million, while 41% had 2010 revenue of over $1 billion.
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