E-retailers go to market
Major e-retailers are expanding the assortments available on their sites by launching marketplace where other sellers can list products for sale. Marketplace operators include Sears, Newegg, Best Buy, Rakuten and Walmart, not to mention dominant marketplace operators Amazon.com and eBay and newcomers like Staples and ToolKing. But how many online marketplaces does the Internet really need? Why do these retailers-cum-marketplace operators want to compete in the same game as Amazon and eBay, and what do they think are their competitive advantages? What will they do to police sellers and ensure a positive shopping experience that reflects well on their own brands? Which offer the best selling opportunities for other retailers?
Topics: Cover Story
Social sales swell
This story will examine the burgeoning social media and social landscape, showing how and why sales that stem from social networks have nearly doubled from a year ago. It will also look at how retailers are driving shoppers from social networks to their retail sites by featuring several of the leading retailers in the Social Media 500, paying particular attention to how they’ve developed a formula of paid/organic marketing messages to get consumers looking and clicking on their posts.
Where web site design and mobile commerce intersect
It will be in Orlando in February, where two IR Focus conferences will take place simultaneously. That makes sense because increasingly retailers are thinking about how their sites will render on mobile devices as they plan site redesigns. This feature will provide a preview of the IR Web Design + Mobile Commerce, including a sneak peak of the insights speakers will present. Featured speakers include executives from Staples, Wayfair, CafePress and QVC.
E-commerce platforms for the middle market
Using IR research data this feature will identify who the leading vendors are of e-commerce platforms targeted to mid-sized retailers. With those vendors identified, the story will provide insights into how these platforms match (or don’t match as the case may be) the needs of this market segment, how they are structured (installed, cloud, combo, etc.), and their pricing models. The author will gather 3rd party research data for independent analysis and insights and talk to e-retailer clients about why/how they selected their vendor, and how the experience has been since signing on.
Topics: e-commerce platforms
Distribution center improvements
How to get an order out the door, quickly and efficiently, is a challenge facing every e-retail operations manager. This story will look at distribution center technologies that can help retailers optimize the process as an order moves from the order management system to the warehouse, to picker to pack station. The story will look at technologies like pick-to-light systems, robots and other automated picking options, what they cost, any savings they can generate and if they truly lessen the amount of time it takes to get an order out the door. Do these technologies lead to fewer mistakes than when using pick lists? Do they truly justify their costs?
You may have a greatest idea/product/e-retail site, etc. since sliced bread, but what you really need is money. This story will look at how e-retailers can court investors, get heard by the people who influence venture capital investment decisions and clinch the investment. It will also look at how e-retailers and investors decide what is given in exchange—ownership rights, a stake of profits, etc. And once the deal is done, how can an e-retailer get the maximum benefit from the resources and expertise of investors while still pursuing the founder’s vision.
Fine-tuning marketing through data
Retailers in the United States in 2012 spent more than $7 billion on digital advertising, more than any other industry, according to the IAB, and retailers are using more methods to make sure they are getting the most bang for their buck. This story will take on paid search and/or display advertising—which together accounted for 67% of total digital ad spending in 2012—and detail the latest ways retailers are using new or refined data sets to improve their ad ROI.
How to save money on customer service
E-retailers’ customer service costs can be significant. Looking across the various customer service communication channels—phone, e-mail, live chat and social media—this story will include insights from merchants on how they brought down their average per-interaction customer service costs without sacrificing service quality. What, for example, can a merchant put in place to preemptively deliver agents with detail on the customer calling and their question so they can resolve the issue quickly and move on? The story will look at ways this can be improved specifically for web shoppers, with techniques such as co-browsing. The story will include experiences and tips from multiple e-retailers, and may be constructed as a ‘5 tips’ or ’10 tips’ to save money on customer service.
Finding profit and success overseas
E-commerce sales globally are expected to grow 18.3% in 2014, and reach as high as $1.86 trillion by 2016. Much of that growth in the next few years will come from the Asia-Pacific region, where researchers predict more than half of consumers will be shopping online by 2017. Other regions, including Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, are also expected to grow rapidly.
For retailers, the opportunity global markets represent might be tantalizing, yet the unknowns are keeping some e-retailers from venturing outside the United States. These include how to overcome language and payment differences, the marketing tactics that work best in other countries and how to manage fulfillment and delivery. This special report and advertising section, Finding profit and success overseas, will address e-retailers greatest concerns about selling their wares abroad, and feature insights from executives from companies than can assist retailers in fulfilling their global ambitions.
This special section, Finding profit and success overseas, will identify the regions and/or countries generating the most interest from North American e-retailers today and what makes them worth exploration by e-retailers looking to expand internationally. It will discuss how e-retailers can work with vendors to help break into a new market and serve the needs of customers there. For example, should a retailer establish their own .com sites in Asia-Pacific markets or through an existing marketplace? What kind of payment forms should e-retailers offer to consumers in Latin America? What are the best ways to get the attention of online shoppers in the most attractive overseas markets? Finding profit and success overseas will also look at how e-retailers can ship products internationally from their existing U.S. facilities and at warehousing and fulfillment options located overseas.
Topics: Special Report