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And it will save retailers pots of money.
Its e-commerce all the way in 2011, as retailers look to online to accelerate potential opportunities for business growth, says Deloitte.

The recent Spreets acquisition by Yahoo7 is just the first of many to come over the next 12 months and expect further deals with players with a strong web presence gain pace following the explosion of this market in 2010.  

Other deals cited by Deloitte’s Technology and Media analyst Damien Tampling at a press briefing today, was US private investors backing of the hugely successful Ozsale.com.au, which saw Insight Venture Partners invest $14.5 million in the online shopping club in August. 

Incidentally, the US venture capital company also put $US100m in micro blogging site Twitter in 2009, which later rose to worldwide ascendancy, meaning that Venture could well be tapping into a share of the next big phenomenon to click with online consumers.

The growth potential in the e-couponing and group e-buying sector is huge and the “retail space is an important area of growth”, says Tampling and no-brainer in terms of the abundance of benefits its implies including less inventory pressures.  

In addition, Deloitte also predicts huge changes for the way consumers shop, with Wi-Fi enabled stores soon to be the norm as consumers seek to compare and evaluate online with in-store offerings.   

However, fear not retailers, as consumers who are in your bricks and mortar branches are likely to purchase there and then, summoning web info as a back up only to what is already in front of them. 

“When shoppers do in-store online comparison shopping, preliminary and anecdotal evidence suggests they are more likely to purchase at that store, especially when an online search reveals that competitors’ prices are similar.”  

And it will cut down on retailer’s costs and do some of the job for them – allowing consumers to consult their online device to fill in the gaps about some of the more elementary product details. 

This is despite common perceptions by some of the leading retailers who believe Wi-Fi to be the enemy at the gate and who have previously come out and said in-store Wi-Fi would be far too costly to install.

In fact, such internet enabled stores would hold a distinct advantage and is a route to enhancing the customer’s shopping experience, making them far more likely to purchase there and then, as complete information is instantly available.

“Yet many retailers today are still missing out on this opportunity to increase customer engagement and conversion and thus sales, because they have yet to install or enhance Wi-Fi in their stores,” the analysts warns.

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