Almost half of retailers surveyed in Q2 about their technology spending plans said that search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and site research would be a main budget spend over the following 3 months, per results from an eTail report [download page] released in October. This put search at the heart of retailers’ short-term commitments, ahead of social media and social engagement, multi-channel initiatives, email, and mobile, on which roughly one-third were planning or evaluating external spend.
While those channels would be popular in the short term, others like payment processing and fraud, privacy, site security and logistics would be relatively ignored, a spending focus for less than 1 in 10 respondents.
Online Video More Important In Next 6 Months
Details from “The 2013 Technology & Retailer Spending Outlook Benchmarking Study” indicate that while just 13% of the retailers surveyed planned to prioritize online video in the following 3 months, that figure rose to 29% when looking out over a 6-month period. Still, SEO, SEM, and site search proved popular also on this time horizon, with 29% saying this would be a main focus of their external spending. Payment processing (14%) again appeared towards the bottom of the list, above only global solutions (11%).
CRM Systems Tops For 1-Year Outlook
When it came to their outlook for spending in the next 12 months, CRM systems, customer segmentation, and loyalty rose to the fore, cited as the top priority for 30% of the respondents, ahead of online video, social media and social engagement, and website personalization (each at 27%). SEO, SEM, and site search was top of mind on this horizon for just 11% of respondents, presumably as most of the spending in this area will have been done during the earlier time periods.
- Mobile (62%) got the vote from most respondents regarding the biggest growth area in the next year.
- Social media is most often being used by retailers for engagement (76%), and less so for PR (51%), customer service (47%), and sales (42%). Merchants are increasingly using social media to monitor mentions and engage with customers, but are using the sites less as prospecting tools, according to a Multichannel Merchant survey released in June 2012.
About the Data: During Q2 2012, eTail fielded over 100 retailer surveys in order to uncover technology spending habits from a number of verticals, including but not limited to; apparel, sporting goods, consumer electronics, travel and hospitality, mass market retailers, as well as specialty/niche.