April 21, 2003, 12:00 AM

Retailers poised to invest in customer management technology, analyst says

Retailers’ multi-year lack of technological investment is building a pent-up demand for technology systems that will help maximize relations with customers, consultant Neil Stern predicts.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Although many e-retailers have been holding back on investing in technology, they can be expected to begin spending on customer relationship management, database management, price optimization and other systems designed to strengthen their service to existing customers, retail consultant Neil Stern tells InternetRetailer.com.

"It`s been disappointing that not much technology investment has been happening, that things e-retailers would like to get done in terms of improving their sites are simply not getting done," says Stern, a principal with consultants McMillan/Doolittle in Chicago.

But this lag in investment is building a pent-up demand for technology systems that will help maximize relations with customers, Stern says. "It will be less for prospecting and more for serving existing customers," he says.

Stern adds that multi-channel retailers in particular will concentrate more on servicing existing customers instead of finding new ones, because they already have a broad reach into their markets that is more likely to attract new customers than if they were only operating a single channel. "When you`re a multi-channel retailer, you have a lot of prospecting going on there already and don`t have to spend as much on customer acquisitions," he says.

 

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