June 20, 2014, 2:56 PM

E-retailers eye e-commerce platform upgrades

A new Internet Retailer survey shines a light on e-commerce technology spending trends.

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Replacing or upgrading e-commerce platforms tops the budget priority list for respondents to a new and exclusive Internet Retailer survey.

The survey sought to highlight e-commerce technology spending plans and priorities in the coming year, and results show that nearly 62% of respondents put “e-commerce platform” at the top of their technology spending list. The survey had 99 respondents in total, and participants could select more than one technology priority area. Other top priorities include mobile commerce (cited by 57.6% of respondents); content management (40.4%); and e-mail marketing (39.4%).

The survey results show that 86.5% of respondents plan to increase their e-commerce technology spending in the coming year. Of those anticipating an increase, 24.4% expect a spending increase of between 15.1% and 25%, the largest such bulge for that question. A full report on the survey results will appear in the July issue of Internet Retailer magazine.

The survey results may foreshadow the immediate future of technology spending. A Forrester Research Inc. report from earlier this year anticipated that the growth in all U.S. technology spending by businesses and government in 2014 and 2015 will outpace the growth in the larger economy as measured by nominal gross domestic product. So-called “customer-facing tech”—a category that includes customer relationship management, web content management, marketing automation and mobile applications—will equal 12% of U.S. technology spending and 17% of all technology purchases this year, Forrester predicts. U.S. technology spending will reach more than $1.3 trillion in 2014, Forrester estimates, up 5.8% from 2013.

19.1% of survey participants say they plan to replace their e-commerce platforms within six months—the survey took place in mid-June—with another 19.1% expecting to do the same within six months to one year. 22.3%, meanwhile, say they will replace their e-commerce platforms in one year to two years from now and 9.6% in more than two years. A robust 29.8% report having no plans to change their e-commerce platforms.

Kim Hansen, senior vice president of marketing and e-commerce for Winston Brands Inc., which operates Collections Etc., an online seller of home and outdoor goods, gifts and other items, says the e-retailer plans to replace its home-grown e-commerce platform, though she gave no timetable. The retailer is weighing whether to build a new platform in-house or hire a vendor.

Relying on in-house technology gives the merchant “control over what gets developed and how, and our site is stable and has good response time,” Hansen says. “The downside is that it takes longer than we would like to develop new functionally.”

One option, she says, “is software-as-a-service add-ons to our existing platform and—or—a re-platform. If we can build functionality with internal resources and SaaS add-ons or upgrades and maintain a speedy, stable website, that would be the least disruptive.”

For much more about e-commerce technology trends, and how the new survey results compared to Internet Retailer’s previous survey on e-commerce technology, read the forthcoming July issue of Internet Retailer magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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