Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Online Retaling: A few interesting bits

I recently had the good fortune of attending the National Retail Federation's annual meeting--The Big Show., the NRF component that follows online retailing, and Forrester Research offered results of a survey on the "state of retailing online". Following are some interesting take-aways from their presentation:

- eCommerce year-over-year growth has slowed since 2003, but has been about 25% for the last three years (2004-2006)
- 2006 eCommerce sales totaled $220 billion (US$) and projections anticipate continued YOY growth of 25%
- Online retaliers/online shopping still lacks in the basics--complete product informaiton, effective and efficient package delivery, and site slow-downs/outages.
- Many, if not most, online retailers focus too much on the analytics of their sites instead of the feedback (voice) of their customers.

So what should we do in light of these findings?
1. Focus on getting the correct and complete product information on your site.
2. Offer a feedback mechanism for customers and consider implementing customer services from time to time.
3. Stay away from the whiz-bang features--they detract from your site and take energy you could be putting toward 1 and 2.

Online retailing is only one component of a successful multi-channel approach to retail. But it's important that you give it proper attention and resources.

For those of you attending CAMEX this year, considering learning more about your online retailing web site by attending one of the following sessions:

10 Ways to Make Your Web Site Smokin' Hot!
The Top 7 Things You Should Know About Your Web Site and Online Sales


Tony Ellis, CAE

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In and Out

Each year, TRU offers it's In and Out of teenage wants and desires.

I want to share a few thoughts from their results. But not to steal TRU's thunder (or rights), I'm lifting only a few points and taking from their Fall 2007 results. They're interesting and suggestive for college stores, nonetheless.

According to TRU:

Of tech and toys - Technology:
- Console video games are MOST "in" according to guys, while online photo sharing tops the list for girls.

- Social-networking sites came in second for most "in" for both guys and gals.

- Virtual worlds seem to be just coming into the field of play.

Dressing the Part - Fashion:
- Sexy and revealing threads topped the list for most "in" with guys, while girls rated that lower on the list. Girls are preferring the girly and feminine look for now.

- Goth seems to be remain on the fringe, holding the last spot (most "out") for both sexes.

- Notably, business/professional dress ranked 3rd "most in" for both sexes.

You've Got Issues - Issues:
- Eating healthy is most "in" for both sexes. Stock those healthy snacks, everyone!

- Delaying sex until marraige is most "out" for both sexes. I'll let you decide for yourself what your store should or should not stock relevant to this one. :-)

More take-aways from the TRU research studies are available in The College Store magazine on a regular basis. And watch your e-mail for the TRU View e-newsletter.

Hope your 2008 is off to a good start!

Tony Ellis, CAE