Out-Law News | 20 Sep 2005 | 7:49 pm | 1 min. read
Relying on new online shoppers to drive sales brings only limited opportunity, according to Forrester. Instead, retailers are investing newfound profits in emerging technologies, such as sophisticated analytics and personalisation tools that enhance the online experience for existing consumers.
The result: businesses no longer view the web as a low-cost sales channel but as a way of improving customer service and retention.
Forrester Research Vice President Carrie Johnson believes that businesses are debating their online strategies. "Many believe that they became too focused on sales. Now they're looking at their web sites as a way to drive in-store traffic and increase their engagement with customers," she said. "This is a huge shift in philosophy as e-commerce enters a more sophisticated phase. But it's also creating tension as CEOs demand ROI for expensive web sites with hard-to-define metrics such as loyalty and brand."
Companies that illustrate this new philosophy include Target, which is using its web site to promote and brand its retail stores; Gap, which is launching redesigned web sites that ease the check-out process; and Nike and Timberland, two manufacturers that are exposing online shoppers to the idea of product customisation. All are being forced to become more innovative online because pure plays such as Amazon.com, drugstore.com, Blue Nile, and Newegg.com have raised the customer experience bar, according to Forrester.
Other highlights in the Forrester report: