Adding value is key to e-tail success

The increased popularity of eCommerce, coupled with continued advancements in internet technology, have globalised and commoditised the IT market beyond expectation so how much longer can businesses survive in the retail space without dipping a toe in the e-tail pool?, asks Nick Preston, sales director, CCI.

The internet boom in recent years has seen consumers flocking online not just to purchase goods, but also to compare prices and ensure value for money.  There is no doubt that price has become the differentiator between buying items from your traditional bricks and mortar channels and opting for an online retailer.  With a string of benefits on offer including more product choice, ad-hoc promotional offers and competitive pricing all available from the comfort of the customers own PC, who can blame customers for making the switch? 

But how are businesses coping in the face of this trend?  With the recession in full force, many organisations will be weighing up whether they can continue to weather the storm with their current sales set-up, or if they need to adapt and streamline methods in order to survive.  A static approach may keep heads above water for now, but it certainly wont reap any rewards once the recession is over.  Overhauling trade strategies is the key to staying in the game.  It is clear that consumer purchasing habits are changing, causing customer bases to fluctuate and making this the optimum time to re-evaluate business processes in short, if you are not considering an e-tail platform, you should be.

However, it would be foolish for businesses to assume that e-tail guarantees instant success organisations will still have to work hard to distinguish themselves from the pack and ultimately find their niche.  The technology sector for example is a competitive marketplace by nature thousands of IT products are released every week with e-tailers competing tooth and nail with each other for sales.  Such stiff competition makes value-added offerings and services imperative to attracting and maintaining customers in the current economic climate. 

In the distribution sector for instance, it is clear that in order to meet both consumer and partner expectations, efficient IT distribution has become far more than just shifting boxes.  Real-time pricing updates, swift and even same-day delivery, as well as a commitment to uphold brand values particularly for those vendors that dont have a UK presence are now major business deal breakers.

Ultimately, success in the e-tail space depends on a companys ability to deliver a positive experience for its customers.  In these tough times, adopting tailored value-added offerings from free delivery promotions to personalised customer support could be the difference between scraping through the recession and thriving in its aftermath.  

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