July 31, 2007, 12:00 AM

Internet Retailer Survey: Form and function

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But those costs can vary widely and will increase if retailers add more sophisticated design elements such as rich media from a third-party developer. The cost of adding a rich media application can run as high as $100,000 to install and several hundred to several thousand dollars more in monthly licensing fees.

For now the Internet Retailer survey finds that most merchants are putting off incorporating new elements and programs such as video, content delivery networks and mobile commerce into their design plans and concentrating on better navigation and organization. Only 32.6% of merchants employ video on their web sites and only 18% utilize content delivery networks. The use of mobile commerce is also limited, with just 7.9% of merchants creating a design that allows shoppers to use their web-enabled handheld devices or cell phones to make a purchase.

“The crucial elements in a design project are improving a site’s usability and functionality,” Thurow says. “Web retailers shouldn’t be buying into the hype of Web 2.0 until they know it will work for them. If they want to make a good design even better, they should listen to their customers and make basic changes that make it easier and faster to complete a purchase.”


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