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%).
Deal Sites Met With Skepticism
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.
Retailers More Confident in Resources
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).
Better Coordination With Marketing Needed, Though
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.