SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

Aberdeen Group

October 06, 2009 10:50 ET

Incremental Online Process Transformation High on the Agenda for Top Performing Retailers

Sixty One Percent of Top Online Retailers Are Incrementally Investing in Improved Web Commerce Functionality

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - October 6, 2009) - Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), announced today the release of a new research report entitled High Definition Retail e-Commerce: Higher Customer Conversions through Effective Online Merchandising, which details the business benefits derived from upgraded retail e-commerce performance and cost optimization. As the recession is turning focus back toward retail e-commerce efficiency, the report found that 80% of top performing online retailers are integrating product brands, categories and other product subsets online.

According to Aberdeen data, as a means to provide a seamless online shopping experience, the industry's top performing retailers are focusing on key online merchandising capabilities, such as integration of products, brands, and other subsets, utilization of catalog management solutions to control online product offering data, and analysis of consumer site search data for a more personalized shopping experience.

Given the continued growth of web-based e-commerce despite a troubled economy, and given the potential growth of companion selling channels such as social media and mobile retailing, it seems logical that top performing retailers are keen to get the fundamentals of merchandising in order: promotions, pricing and display.

"Top performing retailers have recognized that the 'if you build it, they will come' theory behind e-commerce is no longer valid. Customers expect relevant promotions, accurate content displays and an overall seamless shopping experience. These retailers are re-examining the basic building blocks of a solid selling experience in the form of accurate and relevant merchandising," says Greg Belkin, chief author and retail analyst, Aberdeen.

Aberdeen has found that 61% of online retailers are making changes to their web commerce applications on an incremental basis to justify the TCO behind the next phase of technology improvements. To achieve this objective, Aberdeen has found that these retailers are utilizing consumer site search data for more accurate and personalized shopping experience. This data helps retailers address two major challenges: merchandising and marketing management. On a merchandising basis, customer analytics can provide strategic content placement, specific cross-sell and up-sell data based on previous purchases, and highly relevant, one-to-one promotions. On a marketing basis, customers' analytics can provide a window into which specific marketing delivery tools (email, social selling, banners etc.) are the most effective on a customer-by-customer basis.

"Online merchandising and marketing are inseparably linked," says Greg Belkin, co-author and research analyst, Aberdeen. "Online analytics make personalization and segmentation strategies successful, and provide the catalyst for effective selling both before and during the shopping experience."

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Venda and MyBuys. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=6038.

For additional access to complimentary Retail Research, please visit http://research.aberdeen.com/index.php/-retail

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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