September 29, 2004, 12:00 AM

How Internet retailers can jump start the innovations process

While it may be difficult, especially when the daily managing of a complex web store comes into play, Internet retailers must focus on ways to bring innovation to their organizations, Lauren Freedman will tell the Shop.org 2004 Annual Summit next week.

While it may be difficult, especially when the daily managing of a complex web store comes into play, Internet retailers must focus on ways to bring innovation to their organizations, Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group, will tell attendees at the Shop.org 2004 Annual Summit in Anaheim, CA, next week.

Innovation, particularly ideas that increase sales conversion and produce a true return on investment, come when e-commerce managers interact with their peers, develop an internal “new ideas” forum and study the best practices of other retailers, Freedman says. “Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, the innovation level of the industry is probably about a 4,” Freedman says. “There is a lot of copy-catting that goes on.”

To spark innovation, Freedman points to several examples in specific web retailing segments. “In the apparel space, some retailers are very innovative in the way they lay out all the clothing and accessories on a single page and make it very easy and inviting for a shopper to complete a sale,” she says. “In the home furnishings space, some retailers are doing a good job of visualization, such as showing furniture against the backdrop of an entire room.”

As merchants look to evolve their multi-channel site experiences, it is essential to continually evaluate potential features and functionality, Freedman says. For instance, many chains place their hottest selling items in high-traffic areas and present the merchandise in ways that showcase them as best sellers. The same innovation can be adopted for an e-commerce site. Macys.com, for example, features top-selling items labeled as best sellers in multiple merchandising categories, along with attractive images, text describing why the item is so popular, and an emphasis on a particular best seller such as a Mintek 7" Portable DVD Player marked at $50 off the regular price.

“When it comes to innovation, think about what’s important to your brand and category,” Freedman says.

She will moderate a panel discussion entitled “Moving the Site Experience Beyond the Basics – Marrying Innovation and ROI” at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

 

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