Report: Brands aren’t prepared to excel at e-commerce


With an eye on merging the physical and virtual shopping experience, too many retailers still struggle with how to engage shoppers pre- and post-purchase.


This was the message delivered in a new global study from Sitecore. Based on responses from 826 marketing and IT decision makers, and 414 IT partners and suppliers in 14 countries, the majority reported they do understand the importance of online commerce. However, they do not feel fully prepared for driving the growth of this channel globally.


This confusion is evident in their omnichannel investment strategies. While 42% of an organization's total sales have come from online channels in the past year, only 14% of the online sales budget is dedicated to managing the digital consumer experience, the study said. 


Meanwhile, 73% of survey respondents agreed that customer loyalty is lost without a focused brand experience. Yet, organizations are still not providing a holistic experience online that spans across web and commerce systems, data showed. 


For example, 51% of those surveyed believe they are most successful during the purchase phase, but a mere 23% see post-purchase as critical. Meanwhile, only three in 10 respondents see pre-purchase as most important, the report said.


Most blame a lack of technology integration for this disconnect. More than one-third of brands (36%) that use a Web content management solution (CMS) are unable to personalize the purchasing experience, and 33% lack insight into and data about the purchasing experience, the data revealed. 


The top three challenges among IT providers include the ability to integrate new solutions into legacy systems (51%); the struggle to deliver a seamless customer experience (51%), and an ability to deliver constant innovation (50%), the study said.


"As consumers now expect a seamless and immediate shopping experience, the importance of delivering the right experience directly effects the brand,” said Scott Anderson, chief marketing officer, Sitecore. 


“Right now, brands struggle to fulfill the optimal customer experience due to a disconnect between content and commerce driven primarily by the complexity of technology integration,” he added. “As consumers' expectations are paramount to business, it's time for brands to focus in this area.”

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