Online sales for J.Jill are growing and hit $228 million for the 12 months ended Oct. 29.
While technology is key to Internet retailing, most merchants are forgetting about an aspect of online shopping that is even more important: the customer, says Anthony Boldin, president and CEO of AtomicPark.com.
E-retailers constantly are researching, purchasing and monitoring technology, whether fundamental like infrastructure or experimental like podcasting. However, while technology indeed is key to Internet retailing, most merchants are forgetting about an aspect of online shopping that is even more important: the customer, says Anthony Boldin, president and CEO of AtomicPark.com, a pure-play web retailer of software and other computer products that is No. 207 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.
Strategically speaking, changing the primary focus from web site construction and infrastructure to developing deeper and richer relationships with customers is a very important goal for Internet retailers, Boldin says.
“Most people in the industry still view e-commerce as making efficient transactions. But most e-retailers are pretty competent in this area now that they have had the resources to acquire and implement the fundamental technology they need,” Boldin says. “So now that there is a solid technological foundation, to succeed e-retailers must notch up customer service efforts to the point where they can treat online shoppers the same as if they were shopping in a store. When customers are at a web store, they’re not there to rush through a transaction-they want to find the products they’re looking for.”
Boldin very succinctly expresses what he feels is the bottom line in e-retailing when it comes to technology and customers: “Efficiency is not the reason the Internet exists.”