Monday, 23 August 2010 09:19

Australian etailers looking for technology change


A new report suggests Australian online retailers aren't happy with the technology platform they are using.

New research from Forrester shows that 50% of Australian online retailers are planning to change their eCommerce platforms within two years. But mobile access is not a priority for most of the companies responding to the survey.

The main problem cited by Forrester is that retailers have tended to choose an eCommerce platform without realising how much sales growth would occur, and they are now running into the limitations of the originally selected software.

Opinions were quite evenly divided on the question of conventionally licensed software vs on-demand, with 51% favouring the former. Forrester predicts growing acceptance of open source eCommerce software by midsized online retailers, and also notes that some retailers (eg dStore and Kogan) value the flexibility and control provided by homegrown software.

Other areas attracting investment during the coming year include content management tools and the integration of the eCommerce platform with back-end systems such as ERP.

Interestingly, the visual feature most often nominated as having the greatest impact on sales was the provision of multiple pictures. This was chosen by 46% of respondents, compared with 15% for video. Other facilities such as 3D views or interactive demos were even less well regarded.

What about etailing to mobile users? See page 2.

The general attention being given to mobile devices doesn't seem to extend to online retailing. Less than 12% already facilitate purchasing via mobile phones, whether that's though a mobile-optimised web site (8.7%), an app (2.4%), a mobile version of the web site that was specifically optimised for mobile phones (2.1%), or a mobile site operated by an aggregator (0.9%). 19% of respondents are prioritising the development of mobile apps in the coming year, with 15% investing in mobile sites.

This was a 'select all that apply' question, so there's no way of telling the proportion of retailers putting money into app and mobile site development.

Forrester's survey was carried out in conjunction with Online Retailer Expo and Conference 2010, and attracted 334 respondents.



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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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