- Forrester Councils
- Councils Overview
- log in
Posted by Brian Walker on February 5, 2009
Over the last two days leaders in online retail and the vendors who support them gathered in Orlando, Florida to discuss the state of eCommerce.
Some key thoughts:
1 - A glass half-empty is also half-full. Business is tough for some, and good for others. These times are full of opportunity and will lead to innovations. This was a resonating theme from Bob Thacker’s absolutely terrific keynote Wednesday morning, and reinforced by our forecast for 2009-2013. Many online retailers I spoke with reflected a relative strength of the online channel in an otherwise very challenging retail environment.
2 - Focus on the customer. Alfred from Zappos shared some key insights in the operating philosophy and culture at Zappos and how this has translated into a value proposition and loyalty for their customers. The metrics and results from this laser-focus on customer service and satisfaction speak for themselves. Much of what they do is common-sense, but requires commitment and courage to execute.
3 - A healthy eCommerce technology market. Our data and level of client engagement on this topic was reinforced by the retailers and vendors at the forum. A show of hands in my session on “The eCommerce Platform of the Future” was yet another data point, with 25-30% of retailers in the room indicating they intend to replatform in the near future. Point-solution providers have also shared that they have been pleasantly surprised by the market this year.
4 - International is still not a real priority. The complexity, cost, and distractions of operating international eCommerce remain a barrier to companies. This is still not easy. Payments, logistics, content, marketing, talent, and technology all add up to a challenge. As Jim Okamura said in the international session, it requires a commitment over the long-term by companies to get this right. It is great that Shop.org is getting behind this topic, helping retailers solve this, and I know Forrester is looking forward to supporting that as well.
I encourage you to check out the Shop.org blog for more coverage of the sessions.
Now, back to my debriefing after returning from space,