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03 Feb 2010

Despite relaunch: e-shops close-fisted with technical service

Less than half of e-shops update technology to optimise customer care

Customers want a variety of functions at every stage of the buying process

Functional face lift not included   
More than half of e-shop operators fail to make the most of technical potential when relaunching their websites. The majority simply don’t bother to install new services on their own Internet shop site. Such services include functions that cater to individual customer requirements, for instance, and service quality is at a particularly low ebb in the shopping basket. There is often no opportunity at all for customers to select from a number of different shipping options. Only one in seven e-shops offers alternative delivery dates, for example. On top of this, individual functions are too rigidly positioned. Customers only find buttons for product recommendations after finalising their purchase and not at every stage of shopping. By saving on the level of functionality they offer, e-shops fail to live up to the expectations of today’s customers and so squander their sales potential. These are the findings of an extensive functionality test conducted by novomind at online shops that had relaunched their shop systems in the past twelve months.

Service functions are frequently too rigidly positioned    
Communication between e-shop and customer is an increasingly important factor. Internet users want to be more actively involved - throughout the entire shopping process. While still searching for their desired products, they want to be able to talk to a customer service agent and take a look at product ratings. While comparing products, more and more online customers expect to find information from third parties - the results of product tests, for example. At the same time, comment and exchange functions should also be available in the shopping basket and not just after the order has been placed. Although modern technology makes providing such functions really easy to do, all too often they are still missing.

Functional diversity is greatest at the start of the shopping process    
The majority of online retailers have upgraded their functionality at individual stages of the purchase process. The greatest functional diversity is in evidence during the product search and product presentation. At two out of three e-shops, buyers can already find out during the search process whether and when the articles can be delivered. After-search navigation also allows customers to refine their selection within a hit list.

An e-shop can do more than display articles
The results show that many e-shop operators are continuing to focus on product presentation and neglecting opportunities to address customers and so failing to exploit sales potential. That little bit more service, for instance a pre-order function, is altogether lacking. What’s more, the integration of special promotions and bonus programmes as well as increased interactivity is what separates the wheat from the chaff. Already established community shops—as a rule these are big online marketplaces—take greater advantage of the technical possibilities to position interactivity functions strategically throughout the buying process. At the same time, they turn their loyal customers into business partners, rewarding their recommendations with bonuses. Many specialist shops and brand retailers have yet to take this step

novomind AG: innovative e-business solutions for the modern Internet world and for professional customer communication   
Since 1999, Hamburg company novomind has been developing innovative e-business solutions for the modern Internet world in four e-business disciplines: e-commerce (e-shops and zoom server), ePDM (electronic product management), e-marketplace (marketplace integration) and e-communication (solutions for contact and service centres).

novomind is a European technology leader in every service segment and covers the whole digital value-adding chain in retail and electronic customer communication. The Hamburg-based software house is the fastest growing company in the fields of electronic customer communication and mail management.

novomind also provides comprehensive consultancy services for people choosing a suitable IT system for e-commerce. Established licence software like IBM WebSphere Commerce Server and INTERSHOP ENFINITY is considered, as are custom-made novomind solutions based on novomind iSHOP.
novomind AG is currently assisting more than 80 companies including Citibank, Der Club Bertelsmann, Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, Ernsting’s family, EnBW, gebrüder götz, OTTO and QVC.