June 4, 2008, 12:00 AM

Finding the right balance in e-commerce tech investments

The ticket to successful investing in retail technology and operations is finding the right balance, Ames Flynn, vice president of e-commerce for home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc., will tell attendees at IRCE 2008 next week.

The ticket to successful investing in retail technology and operations is finding the right balance, Ames Flynn, vice president of e-commerce for home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc., will tell attendees at IRCE 2008 next week.

“We’re pursuing a balanced portfolio, including shorter-term, quick hits and longer-term strategic investments,” says Flynn, who will cover investment strategies in the session “Survivors make money by investing wisely.”

Short-term investments may include new features on Lowes.com that help to engage online visitors-for example, features that get visitors to enter their e-mail addresses to sign up for e-newsletters or to use online kitchen planners that display products available online and in Lowe’s stores.

Longer-term investments may address goals of the retailer’s more multi-channel environment, he adds. In addition to adding personalization to web pages, these long-term investments may involve technology systems that show how much online activity is impacting store sales. “We’ll try to show if investments in e-commerce are changing shopping behaviors and impacting total spending and average tickets in stores,” Flynn says.

A crucial part of a balanced investment strategy, he adds, is using short-term projects to help build a business case as well as revenue to proceed with long-term projects. “Several small successes can prove our case with the CEO while also bringing in new revenue to fund longer-term initiatives,” he says.

Lowe`s is No. 72 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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