In E-Commerce, When Cool Won’t Do

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Prospects for online retail look promising in coming years though one threat exists.

And it’s not the recession, says a retail analyst. Rather, sites miss the boat on basics and it’s a oversight that has implications in how marketers approach their jobs and e-commerce .

Rather than worry about widgets, wikis, and blogs, Forrester Research Sucharita Mulpuru today told National Retail Federation conference attendees that some e-commerce shortcomings must be addressed if online commerce is going to continue to grow. Among them:

*Online shopping isn’ always easy; often key information is missing from retail sites. When looking for shoes to buy her daughter, Mulpuru measured the toddler’s foot and then looked for the site’s size chart. None existed. She wrote to the retailer asking them for a size chart, but was directed to go to a nearby store. “Not only did they not address my question, they directed me to the channel I tried to avoid shopping in the first place,” she said.

*Sites encounter downtime. Of the top 25 online retailers, one was not available 10 percent of the time in December 2006, Mulpuru said, citing statistics from Gomez, a consultancy. “That means one in 10 persons who came to the site had some problem completing the transaction,” she said.

And what about widgets, wikis, and blogs? “While there are extraordinary and amazing technology developments, they still may be ahead of their time … about five to 10 years ahead of their time,” she said.

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