April 28, 2011, 10:46 AM

Retailers expect higher e-commerce spending will boost sales

Retailers are spending more on e-commerce and expect more revenue, a study says.

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Retailers are more bullish on e-commerce technology this year, with 69% saying they’ll invest more in e-commerce technology and 27% saying they’ll spend “significantly more” than last year, research and advisory firm The E-Tailing Group Inc. says in a new study.

The firm’s 10th Annual Merchant Survey, compiled during the first quarter of this year, also notes that one reason retailers are more bullish this year is because they anticipate strong revenue gains from e-commerce. 90% of merchants anticipate 2011 online sales will increase over 2010, and 46% say they expect that growth to be at least 16%. The survey gathered information from 200 senior e-commerce executives, representing 32 online product categories.

As web site improvements make online shopping more appealing for consumers, retailers say their conversion rates have risen accordingly, the survey says. 45% of merchants report that their conversion rates are at least 3% higher this year. A year ago that percentage was 41%.

The following are areas of preferred priority initiatives this year, with the percentage of surveyed retailers emphasizing such projects:

• Running targeted e-mail marketing campaigns, 78%

• Increasing personalized e-mail, 36%

• Improving internal site search, 68%

• Enhancing on-site merchandising, 66%

In addition, 46% of merchants say they plan to provide a more seamless cross-channel shopping experience by next year, focusing on areas such as consistent branding and promotions and shared inventory.

Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in a session entitled "The changing role of the online merchant: Art vs. science."

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