By Robert Bredlau, Director International Business Development, e-Spirit UK
Despite pessimism about the economy, online retailing is continuing to boom. This month, the continued success of the e-commerce channel was highlighted with the release of impressive growth statistics by analyst company Verdict Research.
The firm's UK e-Retail 2008 report found that last year, online spending rose by 35 per cent to £14.7 billion. The growth rate – the fastest in six years – is then times that of the UK's retail market as a whole.
The firm also predicted that online retail is set to reach £44.9 billion by 2012, driven by a rise in internet use, an increase in the frequency of purchases and average spend by consumers.
And it’s not just on the home front. Internet Retailer this month reported that online retailing increased by 21.8 per cent in the US last year.
The internet offers people an easy way to purchase goods and services across national borders generating tremendous economic growth in the process. Despite the dramatic growth of e-commerce, many companies are failing to tap into the billions being spent online.
Many companies are missing out on the opportunities presented by online retailing because their websites do not have the proper content management systems (CMS) in place.
The internet has led to a much more connected business to consumer environment, which in turn has seen growth in online sales. Many global companies generate more than half their revenue from global markets. That in itself should be sufficient reason to ensure centralised global content management.
But many companies wrongly believe that website globalisation is as simple as translation into the languages of their target audience. A CMS serves as the core technology required for any multi-lingual or multi-brand website solution and goes beyond providing brochure level information.
Companies looking to drive e-Commerce should look to content managers to do more than just edit pages. They need to adopt platforms that support a broad range of uses that are flexible enough to be adapted, packaged and mashed in new ways.
Today’s internet sees a range of digital content delivered to multiple devices or applications. To stay ahead of the game, retailers must demand their CMS delivers all types of content – web, mobile, video, print, audio, PDFs and images – quickly and easily.
Content needs to be delivered to mobile devices, without any loss of integrity. This ensures content is produced once, saving time and money, but also means customers get the same online experience no matter how they access the information.
To remain competitive, a company has to be flexible. The challenge for vendors is how to move with the times, modifying responses as technology evolves.
CMS has to meet the needs of global companies and the changing face of retail. Editors must be able to maintain customer content in any number of languages using any font, on any form of web content. Only then will retailers have a custom made solution, allowing total control over the online shopping experience.
Globalisation is a challenge for all retailers – and traditional, well-established players are often at a disadvantage. They need to adapt their infrastructure in order to get ahead of the competition and remain fit for business in the 21st century.
The companies that embrace this shift are evident, through rising stock prices, higher margins and international expansion. Those who don’t are likely to be consigned to history or at the very least find their prospects for growth severely curtailed.
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