Online Retailing Holding Up in Slump

I recently read an article, Retailers See Web Offsetting Spending Slump, that shows the shifting tide moving towards online resources.

There are many retailers these days who formerly discounted the web as a viable means of generating revenue. However, they are now turning around on that stance and putting their investment dollars into online resources. Lately, retailers like Louis Vuitton and Juicy Couture have ramped up their online operations and utilized technology such as Facebook apps, Twitter feeds, and community forums as part of their marketing efforts. This is largely due to the impact the recession has had upon traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The above article sites that such impact has not been felt as much by online retailers.

In the past, most companies viewed an online presence as a secondary objective and a small piece of the pie. However, that priority has shifted and brought e-commerce initiatives to the forefront of market strategies. Liz Claiborne is one major brand in particular who ramped up their online marketing campaign, especially for their Juicy Couture line of clothing and accessories. JC Penney is yet another major brand jumping onboard, using the web to be more accessible and also to bolster promotions for in-store sales.

“It’s just not based on convenience alone.

It’s also being able to see the whole assortment and browse,”

-Myron Ullman, JC Penney

I know that I personally do a fair amount of online shopping, but I’m usually motivated by finding the best deal, and I search in general for run-of-the-mill items such as books, electronics, and media in discount venues. So how does an upscale company’s online campaign differ with that of a huge e-commerce retailer like Amazon.com? Perhaps this lingering question is one of the reasons such companies have avoided devoting many resources to the internet market. The article explains the ways in which such a company’s approach to online might differ.

Many of these higher-dollar companies have chosen a higher level of customer service and proactive interaction with their buyers in order to assist them in making informed purchasing decisions. Nevertheless, the online market holds many of it’s own unique challenges.

Steve Fishman, Chief Executive of Big Lots! Expressed it this way:

If you think you’re in a competitive business when you’re in the four-wall retail business,

you have no idea what a competitive business it is when you go online.

The online market is much more of a level-playing field for large and small companies alike. Because it is so accessible, you’re effectively competing with companies on a global scale.

Selling online can be an intimidating venture, but as the online trend continues to grow, the answer is not to avoid the web entirely but to be aware of the current trends and effective practices.

To read the original article in it’s entirety, click here

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