March 31, 2008, 12:00 AM

Focusing more on engaging customers online

Merchants are improving how they engage consumers online, according to two new Forrester Research reports.

Retailers are moving toward engaging consumers through social marketing, though new-age techniques like blogs and social networks still take a back seat to search and e-mail marketing, according to a study from Forrester Research Inc., “Top US eCommerce and Online Retail Predictions for 2008.” At the same time, when they set their priorities for 2008, most retailers focused on improving how they engage consumers online by upgrading the usability, usefulness and enjoyableness of the online experience, according to a second Forrester report, “Customer Experience Spending Intensifies in 2008.” Companies are looking beyond the traditional web browsing experience and concentrating on rich Internet applications, cross-channel interactions and mobile commerce. As a result, most companies plan to boost spending this year on tools that can improve the online customer experience, including web analytics and customer satisfaction surveys, Forrester says.

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