Daily Dose of iQ: Successful E-Commerce Takes More than Online Presence

Aug 27, 2014 — Allan Pulga

VentureBeat reported today on a NASDAQ study that speaks to the disruption in retail caused by e-commerce.

"With the rise of companies like Amazon and eBay, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have felt pressured to move their stores online, potentially killing off some of their physical stores in the process," wrote VentureBeat's Ruth Reader. "But new findings from a team at NASDAQ show that beefing up your digital presence may not drive sales."

Nordstrom is a leader in e-commerce because its online strategy complements its in-store offerings.

A big reason? The threat e-commerce is overblown. In spite of all the reports of e-commerce infringing on in-store sales (e.g. the whole "showrooming" scare), e-commerce still only accounts for 6% of total sales in the U.S.

Still, e-commerce is not to be ignored. In fact, the study lauds the efforts of Nordstrom to "straddle the gap between" physical stores and a digital presence. The NASDAQ study called Nordstorm "beacon of self-disruption" since opening an online store in 1998 and its acquisitions (HauteLook in 2011; Trunk Club in 2014) and partnerships (Bonobos, Sole Society, Baublebar) since then keep it on the cutting edge of retail, both in-store and online.

"Part of (Nordstrom's) success is knowing how brick-and-mortar stores drive sales and what an online presence can do to brighten sales figures," Reader adds. "To that point, notice the number of online retailers (like Warby Parker) that are opening up physical stores."

Not all products will win in-store anymore. Low-margin commodities (yes, this includes electronics now) are increasingly 'showroomed.'

Meanwhile, yesterday (Aug. 26), The Street's Herb Greenberg lamented the downfall of Best Buy, saying it simply doesn't have the margins anymore. Best Buy and big-box retailers like it are "getting pummeled online." And because Best Buy is willing to price match with Amazon (which doesn't have the overhead in-store costs Best Buy does), Best Buy "can't win."

Topics: Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, e-Commerce

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