Study: Back to Basics for UK E-Tailers

British e-tailers faced harsh criticism for replicating the offline “one-stop shop” in a study released last month by Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA.

“Merchants are making a mistake in rapidly expanding their net ranges,” said Mike Honor, the Forrester analyst who conducted the research. “They believe an absence of online space constraints lets them replicate the offline concepts of destination stores and category killers.

“This belief ignores the fact that large assortments in one place are less attractive online than off. The concept of a one-stop shop is rooted in the offline world but the Web is poor for browsing masses of products.”

Web merchants, Honor said, have to get back to retail basics, and that includes building sites that are easy for shoppers to navigate and facilitate direct exchange of information.

Another survey of the British online market indicated that banner advertising as a customer acquisition tool has lost favor among British companies, with only 3 percent thinking it was the most effective method available. Those surveyed also did not like sponsorships of third-party sites.

The survey of 400 British marketers by NewWorldCommerce, a Dublin-based Internet marketing and management company, and the business publication Marketing Week, also found that almost two-thirds of their companies have an “e-marketing strategy in place.”

E-mail marketing is growing rapidly among British firms, with 73 percent of those surveyed saying they include e-mail in their marketing mix. Fifty-eight percent intend to expand their use of e-mail.

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