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Ecommerce capabilities benefiting retailers

Jan 31, 2013 Dave King

Electronic payments continued their surge toward becoming consumers' preferred medium in 2012, and the forecast for 2013 looks just as bright.

Like the United States, the United Kingdom's retail market growth this holiday season was sparked by online sales, according to Internet Retailing.

"It was a very strong finish to the year for the online retail industry, with growth coming in above expectation after a solid first half of the year," said Andrew McClelland, chief operations and policy officer at IMRG. "We are forecasting 12 percent growth for the market in 2013 as consumers look to get maximum value from every transaction," he added.

According to a consumer credit report by the Office of National Statistics, retail sales in the U.K. increased 0.3 percent in December, primarily because of ecommerce, which grew 15.5 percent. For the first time ever, online sales accounted for more than 10 percent of all retail purchases. Ecommerce in the U.S. reported similar gains, according to multiple studies.

Implementing ecommerce strategies
In a recent blog for Practical eCommerce, Dale Traxler, principal at eBusiness Vision, wrote that electronic commerce should be a major investment for businesses in 2013, even for companies that have already implemented such strategies. Traxler made some suggestions about what types of factors contribute to successful ecommerce strategies, including:

- Understand your customer base: Traxler advised company leaders to focus on identifying upcoming trends, rather than simply what's already a best seller.

- Be interactive: Ecommerce strategies will be less likely to work if companies do not develop an adequate online community. This includes an interactive social media presence, particularly with regard to customer service, and creating personalized advertising.

-Mobile strategies: As more companies establish an online presence, it becomes harder to stay ahead of the competition. Therefore, businesses may want to invest now in mobile strategies, which could pay off down the line.