April 19, 2005, 12:00 AM

Marks & Spencer turns to Amazon for multi-channel ordering

To replace three separate ordering systems for its three selling channels, Marks & Spencer will use an e-commerce platform hosted by Amazon that also will improve the overall performance of its web site, the UK-based retailer said today.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

To replace three separate ordering systems for its three selling channels, Marks & Spencer will use an e-commerce platform hosted by Amazon.com Inc. that also will improve the overall performance of its web site, the UK-based retailer said today. The deal marks Amazon’s entrance into the European enterprise retail services market, Amazon said.

"Marks & Spencer already has a successful web site with over 24 million visits every year, but our e-commerce and customer ordering capabilities have yet to reach their full potential,” said Steven Sharp, director of marketing and e-commerce. “A partnership with Amazon will help us achieve this, while allowing us to concentrate on our core business of retailing."

Marks & Spencer expects to initially benefit from Amazon’s services by improving the way it serves customers who shop in multiple channels because the single cross-channel ordering system will let customer service reps respond with information about orders regardless of which channel a customer shopped, a spokeswoman says. “With Amazon, we’ll be able to track customer orders from in-store to the web to call centers,” she says.

Marks & Spencer, a multi-category retailer that includes apparel, home furnishings, gifts and food among its merchandise offerings, expects to also leverage Amazon’s web site expertise to improve the performance of its MarksandSpencer.com.

“Our site is fine at the moment, but it’s not sophisticated in terms of functionality,” the spokeswoman says. “Once on the Amazon platform, we’ll begin to exploit all the benefits, including a better site search engine, that come with it.”

Marks & Spencer and Amazon say the first phase of new service capabilities will be completed early next summer.

 

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