If You Were A Retailer, Would You Admit That You Were Worried About Your Competition?

If you were a retailer, would you admit that you were worried about your competition? With eTail West around the corner (March 3-6 in San Antonio, Texas), I want to revisit what last year's retail attendees said about their spending plans for 2014 -- regarding the challenges faced in all aspects of multi-channel and online retail in view of competitive pressures and where respondents are spending externally. I specifically wanted to look at the retailers' responses regarding Web Analytics, Data Management, Assortment and Price Intelligence.  

For this survey, eTail and AT&T fielded over 100 retailer surveys during Q1 2013 to uncover technology spending habits from a number of verticals, including, but not limited to: apparel, sporting goods, consumer electronics, travel and hospitality, mass market retailers, as well as specialty/niche. The purpose of the study was to ascertain the technology spending habits, industry trends, and gain a future outlook from a sample of cross-industry, cross-vertical retail executives.

"Trends have been combining to create an explosion of innovation and investment in the online retailing channel," said the eTail survey summary. "The result is a dynamic and competitive selling environment that will challenge every online seller to satisfy and thrill online shoppers – before another retailer does."

On a percentage basis, survey respondents said they were planning to allocate budget as follows:

Chart from eTail East Survey 

Regarding the chart above, I'm highlighting the specific area of interest: Web Analytics/Data Management:  

45% of respondents reported planning to spend MORE on Web Analytics/Data Management in the next 12 months.

5% of respondents planning to spend LESS on Web Analytics/Data Management in the next 12 months

43% of respondents planning to spend THE SAME AMOUNT on Web Analytics/Data Management in the next 12 months.

On other parts and charts of the survey: 

ROI Analysis: 31% of respondents indicated they would make spending decisions for web analytics/data management based upon an ROI Analysis: (The top percentage, 60%, said their display advertising spending decisions are based upon ROI analysis; and at the lower end, 15% said their mobile and global solutions were based on ROI Analysis).

Management Decision: Spending decisions for web analytics/data management based upon a management decision: 25%

Ease of Execution: Spending decisions for web analytics/data management based upon ease of execution: 9%. (At the top end of responses, 15% said ease of execution affected their spending decision; at the low end, 2% said ease of execution affected their spending decision).

Competitive pressures: According to the respondents 2% of web analytics/data management spending decisions are based upon competitive pressures.  (The top spending commitment was 23% for mobile (apps); and the lowest was 2% for web analytics/data management).

* The top areas that retailers indicated they were most likely to spend budget on within the next 12 months were: Personalization, multi-channel initiatives, and email.

* The top areas that retailers said they were least likely to spend budget on within the next 12 months were: Display advertising, social media (paid advertising), and global solutions.

Additional eTail Survey Questions:

What do you see as the biggest growth area in the next year? The overwhelming majority of those surveyed answered that mobile would see the most growth.

How are you using social media? Engagement was the reason survey respondents said they would use social media. In contrast, generating sales is the least likely reason they are using social media.

What are your top four priorities in terms of technology enhancements? The top answers were: Mobile, CRM, Video, Speed.

The eTail Survey concluded as follows: 

"As many retailers have learned, the eCommerce industry never allows for complacency." 

Bottom line for your bottom line:

I was surprised that only 2% of web analytics/data management spending decisions are based upon competitive pressures -- or, even though the responses were anonymous, that's what the respondents said. Perhaps I want the numbers to be higher because we want retailers to use intelligence solutions. Or, I wonder, if you were a retailer, would you admit that you were concerned about the competition?

Retailers should ask themselves: If you could track and analyze – on a real-time basis – the full product assortment and pricing across every category -- for all of your key competitors:

*What would you do with that knowledge?

*Would you make different decisions about what you offer and at what price?

*Would that help you drive greater volume while boosting margins?

And wouldn't that auger for greater need and desire for web analytics/data management?

Maybe this is the year that retailers will express that need in an eTail survey.   

I'd really like to hear your opinion on the question:  If you were a retailer, would you admit that you were concerned about the competition? In addition to a simple "yes" or "no", please add your comments at LinkedIn Group Site Competitive Pricing for Online Retail. 

Thanks. Mauricio  

 

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Mauricio Barberi, CMO

About Author

As CMO of Upstream Commerce, Mauricio leads all branding, marketing communications, public & analyst relations, web presence, social media, demand & lead generation and sales enablement programs. He has over 20 years of experience in B2B technology marketing and product development. Previously, Mauricio was SVP of Global Marketing at TradeCard (acquired by GT Nexus), a leading innovator in Cloud-based supply chain management solutions for large retailers and manufacturers; SVP of Worldwide Marketing at CGS, a $200 million software and services provider, where he revitalized the BlueCherry suite of software solutions for the retail & apparel sector; SVP of Marketing at Mobius, a NASDAQ-listed digital archiving and records management company; and VP of Marketing & New Products at C3i, a CRM services firm and Siebel partner. Mauricio earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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