Friday, April 30, 2010

World Retailing: Retail via eCommerce

In the Financial Times World Retailing this month, "Seamless service from clicks and bricks" talks about the growth of eCommerce driven retail, moving of luxury goods sales to the internet and their success, and a combination of clicks and bricks.

"Deloitte and Forrester, the technology and market research group, found that 40 per cent of retail sales in the US last year were influenced by the internet, with consumers either shopping online or using the internet to gather information on potential purchases."

Now the fun begins!  The five senses to be influenced available to a retailer in the retail store disappear on the web.  How does one create the right experience for the diversified, from the affluent to the lower middle class, to engage and convert them?  This is where pure analysis fails... for example, if a web shopper is recognized as liking red because they bought a red pen, does that imply they would also buy a red car, and a red shirt, and so on.  Insights into behaviors through aggregation can result in misfires and loosing the online shopper all together.  eCommerce retailers will need to move towards personalization - the market does not have but one true personalization player, one that can comprehend astronomically large coincidence points of the shopper and instantly connect the semantics to it, while providing this information at instantaneous speeds.

Current solutions can collect all the dots yet, as the article states, "But joining the dots takes time."  Most of the time the shopper has moved on or has been influenced by a different solution to their need.

eCommerce is also going to enable new entrants in the global market place as the "virtual shopper" can do shopping on the eCommerce "virtual shelf" from anywhere.  Like I said, now the fun begins!  Will the shopper and consumers be the winners in the end?

"As retailers rush to provide even better online shopping experiences for their core customers, they are also using the internet to procure new ones.

The next step for many is to use the internet to give them exposure overseas.

Next, the UK-based clothing chain, said last month that it was pulling back from expanding overseas through its own stores in favour of growth via the internet.

It has expanded its online operation to 36 countries and has been selling into the US via the internet since the middle of last year.

“Internationalising sales is a smart strategy,” says Mr Fitz- gerald. “With the internet, you can go into 20 new countries within a year. It is remarkable and you really can achieve that kind of scale if you prioritise and focus.”"

If you would like to read this and other articles in the World Retailing, download the complete file here.

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