May 10, 2005, 12:00 AM

Retailers more bullish this year on e-commerce tech spending, analyst says

Several forces are driving up retailers’ interest in replacing or upgrading their e-commerce technology, including integration among multiple channels to produce more revenue, Gartner analyst Adam Sarner says.

 

Several forces are driving up retailers’ interest in replacing or upgrading their e-commerce technology, including integration among multiple channels to produce more revenue, Gartner Inc. analyst Adam Sarner says.

Sarner, noting that he has already evaluated about 50 retail e-commerce platforms this year, says retailers are moving beyond concerns about just having a reliable e-commerce platform to investing in integrated systems that also support multi-channel selling and marketing.

Two other forces driving up retailers’ interest in new e-commerce technology is a preponderance of home-grown systems that can no longer handle the volume and shopping demands of today’s consumer market, and the continuing growth of online retail spending, Sarner says. “Before the dot-com bomb in the 1990s, there was a lot of investment in e-commerce, but not a lot of users,” Sarner says. “Now there are a lot of users, but e-commerce investments have been flat, so there’s a new gap that retailers are starting to fill.”

At the same time, he adds, the vendor community has improved on its ability to deliver packaged e-commerce applications that don’t require much development by IT staffs. “This is providing more flexibility for business owners to work on customer relationships,” Sarner says. “Instead of just testing that a site is not falling apart, they can do more A/B testing to find out what customers want.”

In a first-quarter Gartner report on b2c e-commerce platforms, “Business-to-Consumer E-Commerce Magic Quadrant,” Sarner cited Art Technology Group and IBM as the leading providers of e-commerce platforms. IBM scores well for its overall e-commerce platform functionality and its broad presence in the retail market; ATG scores more for its strong e-marketing and site personalization technology, Sarner says.

 

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