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A 21st Century Retailer's Technology Needs

According to new research by the Aberdeen Group, the online Business to Consumer (B2C) marketplace is increasingly impatient, which is a reflection on the pressures merchants feel from their customers.

Online retailers expect their technology solutions to flex, bend and meet their complex needs and become profitable in short order. Rather than expecting to realize a return on investment over the course of time, retailers want instant gratification and Return on Investment (ROI) in typically less than six months.

Twenty-one percent of retailers expect to see revenue results from their online tools (e.g., site search, interactive product imaging and Web 2.0 technologies) within weeks. Only 22 percent are willing to wait more than six months to realize a return on their online tools.

In a related research study, Aberdeen says that it would be difficult to dispute the fact that retail has changed dramatically over the past several years -- as a result of new and emerging technologies.

An overwhelming 84 percent of retailers surveyed conduct sales in more than one channel (e.g., direct sales, stores & Internet, Internet & call center, or a combination). Willingly or not, a new breed of customer is forcing retailers, traditionally resistant to change and slow to adopt, to step into the 21st century.

Customer expectations of seamless purchase and delivery options across channels are a driving factor for 67 percent of retailers. In response, 69 percent of retailers are working to create a single brand identity across all channels thereby minimizing the distinction between shopping preferences.

Sixty-six percent of retailers are taking this even further by prioritizing customer's ability to purchase, take delivery, or return a product through the channel of their choice.

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