10 Things Online Retailers Want: List Starts With Zoom-In Capability

By John McCormick Print this article Print

Forrester Research report says online sales will hit $260 billion this year.

Embedding zoom-in capabilities, adding streaming video and providing live chat are among the tools and technologies online retailers view as their investment priorities for the next year, according to a report from research firm Forrester and the e-commerce trade group Shop.org.

As electronic commerce continues to boom, with online sale predicted to grow 18% this year to about $260 billion, retailers are feeling competitive pressure to enhance their sites. New entrants are rushing into the space and deploying e-tailing technologies, said Scott Silverman, Shop.org's executive director.

"There is a lot at stake and you need to stay on top of your game," Silverman said.


he list of tool and technology priorities is part of The State of Retailing Online, an annual study put out by Forrester and Shop.org. This year's report is based on a survey of 150 retailers.

According to the report, the top 10 tool and technology priorities, in order of importance, are:

1. Embedding zooming features, so that shoppers can get a closer look at products.

2. Streaming video clips and podcasts.

3. Creating a discount tool—an "outlet section" that features products with reduced prices—on retail sites.

4. Providing color/fabric swatches.

5. Creating value-added Web content, such as how-to sections that provide instructions on building or assembling products.

6. Deploying virtual catalogs.

7. Building knowledge bases, such as frequently asked question sections, to provide consumers with online answers to their queries.

8. Aggregating content from vendor and manufacturing partners.

9. Providing live chat.

10. Featuring 3D/rotation of products.

E-commerce has long been a market noted for its innovations, and online retailers will continue to experiment with new technologies to maintain their competitive edge. "The bar keeps getting raised," Silverman said.

This article was originally published on 2007-09-24
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