June 4, 2008, 12:00 AM

Finding the right balance in e-commerce tech investments

The ticket to successful investing in retail technology and operations is finding the right balance, Ames Flynn, vice president of e-commerce for home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc., will tell attendees at IRCE 2008 next week.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

The ticket to successful investing in retail technology and operations is finding the right balance, Ames Flynn, vice president of e-commerce for home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc., will tell attendees at IRCE 2008 next week.

“We’re pursuing a balanced portfolio, including shorter-term, quick hits and longer-term strategic investments,” says Flynn, who will cover investment strategies in the session “Survivors make money by investing wisely.”

Short-term investments may include new features on Lowes.com that help to engage online visitors-for example, features that get visitors to enter their e-mail addresses to sign up for e-newsletters or to use online kitchen planners that display products available online and in Lowe’s stores.

Longer-term investments may address goals of the retailer’s more multi-channel environment, he adds. In addition to adding personalization to web pages, these long-term investments may involve technology systems that show how much online activity is impacting store sales. “We’ll try to show if investments in e-commerce are changing shopping behaviors and impacting total spending and average tickets in stores,” Flynn says.

A crucial part of a balanced investment strategy, he adds, is using short-term projects to help build a business case as well as revenue to proceed with long-term projects. “Several small successes can prove our case with the CEO while also bringing in new revenue to fund longer-term initiatives,” he says.

Lowe`s is No. 72 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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