The envelope, please: How the biggest e-retailers rank today
The 500 leading online retailers in North America account for 80% of web sales, which makes Internet Retailer’s Top 500 rankings essential intelligence for anyone selling online. This story, based on data from the new 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will identify the key trends that emerged from this annual research project. It will highlight which retailers gained the most, and which fell back—and look at the reasons why. It will report on which kinds of retailers and product categories are growing the fastest online, and the portion web sales represent of retail sales in more than a dozen merchandise categories. The story package will also look at segment and growth trends among the 500. The story will look at why these retailers and categories are taking off, and what experts think about what’s coming next.
Topics: E-Retail Rankings
IRCE Essentials Part 1: Change agents
For ten years, the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition has been the place where e-retail professionals have come together to chart the future of the industry, and this year the roster of speakers and content agenda will set the stage for the next decade. This article will give a sneak peak at some of the insights that will be offered by the all-star lineup of speakers slated for IRCE 2014, taking place June 10-13 in Chicago.
That lineup includes eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe speaking on “connected commerce,” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales addressing the power of community in an online era, and Wayfair.com CEO Niraj Shah speaking on connecting with consumers. The article will also detail key conference developments, such as the new, day-long pre-conference workshop on using online video.
IRCE Essentials Part 2: Can't-miss sessions
With 130 conference sessions to choose from and a massive exhibitor hall to tackle, IRCE can easily overwhelm attendees. In Part 2 of IRCE Essentials, editors will select can’t-miss sessions pertaining to their respective reporting beats, and briefly tell readers the backstory of why these are at the top of their coverage lists, with commentary from speakers from the cited sessions.
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Content management technology for B2B
Using research data from Internet Retailer and other sources, this feature will identify the leading vendors of content management technology and tools to companies selling online to other businesses, government agencies and educational institutions. With those vendors identified, the story will look at how B2B sellers are (or are not) applying these technologies, how these technologies are delivered (installed, cloud, combo, part of a larger platform etc.), and their pricing models. In the story, B2B e-retailers will outline the content management challenges unique to B2B, such as managing multiple pricing models, and whether vendor-provided services are able to meet those challenges or if an in-house build is preferred. The purpose of this article is to serve as an informative, useful buying guide for e-retailers shopping for content management technology.
One size does not fit all: online sizing technology
The 576 apparel and accessories e-retailers ranked in Internet Retailer’s family of research guides—far more than any other merchandise category—collectively generated $126.59 billion in sales online in 2012, and those sales are growing at a fast clip, more than 20% between 2011 and 2012. While many consumers shop for apparel online, they also return a lot of those purchases. A new breed of product and sizing technologies hope to change that, and some e-retailers are featuring fit technology on their sites, hoping to guide shoppers to the right size the first time in hopes of reducing returns. This story will detail how e-retailers are using this technology, how consumers are responding to it, its cost and its effect on return rates.
Securing mobile payments
With roughly one-fifth of smartphone owners completing financial transactions on their phones (per comScore data from Q2 2013), questions are arising about how secure the transmission of payment and personal data is. This story will look at the security of payments made on smartphones and what e-retailers are doing to secure the sites they serve to consumer on mobile and on retailer-specific shopping apps. Are the wireless networks consumers use to access the web from their phones riskier to transmit sensitive data on than wired or personal networks, and do retailers take any additional security steps when an order is placed from a mobile customer? It will also look at the consumer side of the story. What data are stored on consumers’ handsets directly or via apps hosted on the phone? If a consumer’s phone is lost or stolen can someone launch a retailer app where payment information is stored, and make a purchase? What security checks can e-retailers put in place to verify? Are concerns like these holding consumers back from buying on the mobile web? If e-retailers could reassure consumers on the security issue, would they sell more on mobile?
Customer service strategies for small retailers
Whether you are Amazon.com Inc. or a small e-retailer just starting out, the need to service customers well is universal in e-retailing. The difference between large and small merchants, however, is the depth and breadth of resources available to put toward customer service. Small and midsized retailers have to watch every penny. As a result they tend to examine closely any customer service technology to make sure it’s going to save money. This story will look at the choices they have made, and the benefits they are realizing. It will examine how smaller e-retailers (Second 500) approach customer service, handle requests in a timely fashion and the investments they’ve made to make customer service better or more cost-effective. It’ll also look at whether and when smaller e-retailers decide to enlist outside help for service.
Lowering global hurdles
A retailer looking to sell to online shoppers in another country can create its own e-commerce site there, or it can test the waters and get started more quickly by selling on a web marketplace. That includes Amazon and eBay, that each operates shopping sites in many countries, but also local options like Tmall in China and Rakuten in Japan. Several service providers familiar to U.S. e-retailers are paving the way. In March, ChannelAdvisor announced it had signed a deal with Alibaba Group that will make it easier for U.S. merchants to sell online through Tmall to consumers in China. This follows an extension of ChannelAdvisor’s services into Latin America via the Mercado Libre marketplace. Marketplace operator and e-commerce services provider Rakuten too, says it is making it easier for retailers to sell overseas, and eBay Inc. has rapidly been investing in marketplace operations globally. This story will look at the moves these e-commerce and marketplace providers are making to make going global easier for e-retailers, with examples from U.S. e-retailers, both large and small, who are using them.
Topics: Global commerce