For retailers, the move to online commerce is less a matter of an interesting idea and more a matter of survival. With online retailers like Amazon shaking up the landscape, having that online presence and attempting to capture after-hours trade is more necessary than ever. But with that in mind, a new report suggests that retailers have quite a few interesting plans for ecommerce, and many of these are set to be up and operating by the end of this year.
The new report, a product of eBay (News - Alert) Enterprise titled the “2015 Retail Growth Outlook” report, took to 1,000 ecommerce and marketing professionals, focusing on businesses with revenue totals between $3 million and $250 million. One of the biggest points is that many firms are looking to move ecommerce operation hostings to the cloud by the end of this year, with over half of respondents (55 percent) indicating that such a move was on the table. Likewise, inventory management was a big move target, coming in at 46 percent planning to migrate, and marketing program management and customer relationship management (CRM) both coming in at 40 percent plans to move to the cloud.
There are still concerns for firms about the cloud, however, with 26 percent citing security as a problem, shared resources coming in at 17 percent and a lack of support staff for IT functions close behind at 16 percent. But with just over a quarter (26 percent) of large-scale retailers (between $50 million and $250 million in annual revenue) calling the cloud “critical” to future growth, it's clear that, concerns aside, the cloud is the next big thing. The flexibility and ease of data access in cloud services were frequently cited as advantages to using cloud-based systems, and the sheer number of possibilities in the field certainly didn't hurt.
This wasn't the end of retailers' plans, though; the report also suggested that the Chinese market was going to be a major target of the next few years. Forty-seven percent of respondents believing they are sufficiently prepared for global expansion, and China was the third most cited priority for expansion efforts, But another move, mobile device optimization, is also clearly in focus; 54 percent of retailers are investing in the field, and 46 percent are investing in mobile application development.
Retail is a rapidly changing field; maybe even five years ago, things like mobile devices and the Chinese market were considerations, but not particularly urgent matters. Now, we see rapid upscaling, clear growth, and plans for moving into both of these fields. Given that not so long ago, Google's algorithm changes put a bit of extra weight on mobile friendliness, a move to optimize sites for mobile by the end of this year makes particular sense. The reported rise of the Chinese middle class certainly does make it a prime target for marketers, but this is a field that might prove a bit stunted given the Chinese government's stance on a lot of things. But reports suggest that payment processors like Visa and MasterCard (News - Alert) may be able to better get into that market soon, which could also shake things up.
Only time will tell just how all of this plays out, but the responses certainly seem reasonable in the light of global events. We may be seeing a fairly different world in mobile commerce, and soon.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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