It was good news in particular for UK online retailers, as they led all European countries with the largest percentage (89.3%) of website users visiting online retailers in October 2010. France was a close second with 84.3% of their population, followed by 81.7% of Germany’s population looking at online retail sites in during October.

You would have had to be in the Big Brother house for the last 5 years not to realise that swathes of High Street browsers are choosing to do their browsing online. It makes sense; no closing time, no petrol or parking costs, avoiding the crowds of bargain hunters… the list goes on.

In fact the consumer has become so confident with making their purchase online that products are now being bought which, only 2 years ago, I would never have thought feasible.

For example, beds, mattresses and sofas are being bought without the customer ever having sat on them. Clothes and jewellery bought without trying them on. Even cars and houses without stepping a foot inside! Are there any limits to what a retailer can sell online?

However, after all this evidence and years of momentum I’m staggered at how many retailers (large and small) do not have websites that take advantage of this shift in consumer behaviour.

In the last 12 months e-commerce sites within the UK have generally improved. But on the whole, they are still under performing. There are a number of sites which do not have a clear, intuitive navigational structure. Many sites are not up-selling or cross-selling. I wouldn’t mind betting that a large percentage of sites still don’t have a basic online marketing strategy.

For example, how many truly targeted emails do you receive – ones that pitch something of real relevance to you (apart from Amazon’s!)? How many times do you search with Google, Yahoo or Bing and the sponsered ads are not relevant to your keywords?

Things will catch-up, eventually. But in the mean time if you have a great e-commerce website and a progressive online strategy the world is your oyster.
 

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Leigh

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