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Online retailers to throw more money into technology

Top priorities include new eCommerce platforms, mobile commerce and back office integration technologies

Australian online retailers have indicated intentions to increase their technology spend in order to be successful in the market, according to a new report.

The report Online Retailing in Australia 2011: Technology Investment was compiled by analyst firm, Forrester, also indicated investment priorities for retailers in areas such as replacing core eCommerce platforms, mobile commerce, back office integration and technology to support multi-channel retail.

About half of respondents surveyed indicated plans to replace their core eCommerce platforms in next 24 months, and that retailers were steering clear of SaaS, trying to manage most of their software development and site administration in-house.

"As a result, the growing use of open source eCommerce platforms will plateau in Australia, product content management will become an important area of focus in its own right, and skills shortages will place pressure on current staffing models," the report said.

Respondents were also expecting their business to grow 29 per cent on average in the year ahead. Forrester forecast the online retail sales will grow into a $33.3 billion market by 2015. About 28 per cent of respondents said they would significantly expand their technology investment in the next few months, while 75 per cent were planning some sort of growth.

As these businesses continue to grow, so will their appetite for enhanced website features, business management tools and closely integrated systems, which could put a strain on core eCommerce platforms.

"They are realising that a whole range of desirable initiatives from using customer ratings and reviews to publishing more product content more efficiently, are more difficult than necessary with the entry-level eCommerce platforms that many of them deployed in the earliest stages of their growth," the report said. "As a result, 50 per cent of surveyed Australian online professionals are planning to replace their core eCommerce platform in the next 24 months or already have a re-platforming program underway."

The report surveyed 179 retailers and respondents reported $135 million in sales with 3 per cent indicating a $1 billion turn over or more per annum.


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