E-retailers will spend more on technology

56% will invest more in e-commerce technology in 2012, Forrester says.

Paul Demery

The steady growth of retail sales online and through mobile commerce is resulting in increased spending by most retailers on e-commerce technology, Forrester Research Inc. says in a report released today.

More than half of companies in a recent survey, or 56%, said they’re increasing spending on e-commerce technology this year over last year. 18% will increase spending by more than 20%, and 38% will increase it by 5% to 19%, Forrester says.

The remaining 44% said they plan to keep their level of spending this year about the same as in 2011. Forrester conducted the global survey in May of 140 e-business executives.

When asked when, and if, they plan to replace their e-commerce platform—including the full suite of software on which they conduct online retailing—6% said they have a platform in the works; 9% said they plan to change their e-commerce platform within 12 months; 12% said in 12 to 18 months; 25% said 18 to 24 months; 20% said 24 to 36 months; and 5% said in more than 36 months. Another 17% said they have no plans to change their platform, and 6% said they didn’t know what their plans were.

The study, which was authored by Forrester vice president and technology analyst Brian Walker and other Forrester analysts, says the biggest driver of investment in e-commerce technology is the 12% average growth in online retail sales that Forrester projects across the United States and Europe through 2016.

While much of the investment will focus on core e-commerce and mobile commerce technology, Forrester also cites four other general areas driving spending:

● The need to support online buying, marketing and customer service across multiple retail channels, including web sites, mobile sites and apps, contact centers and in-store point-of-sale systems;

● The need to connect with a growing number of retail channels outside of a retailer’s own operations, including e-marketplaces and social networks;

● Expanded order management, including the ability to let consumers order products online for in-store pickup or to order online products shipped from stores to their homes;

● The need of many retailers and consumer brand manufacturers to support multiple brands and web sites and to sell into multiple foreign markets.


Brian Walker, e-commerce platforms, e-commerce software, e-commerce technology, Forrester, industry statistics