Internet Retailer's Top 10 Stories of 2008

Internet Retailer recently sent a list of their top 10 stories of the year. This is insightful and can give you ideas for creating press releases, blog posts, and other content based on how your business fits or doesn’t fit these trends.

1. Internet Sales a Bright Spot of the Economy
Online sales pick up for retail chains just as their store sales are suffering. Stores like: Gap, Talbots, Circuit City (that went bankrupt this year) and Staples. The internet became a last hope for profitability, especially in retail.

2. M-commerce: E-commerce Becomes More Popular on Mobile Phones
With improved phones that make browsing the web easier, more people shop with their mobile phone. “57% of the entire U.S. population use phones that can browse the Internet. Of U.S. citizens with mobile phones, 25%, or 60.8 million, browse the Internet from their phones, according to JupiterResearch LLC.” And most of them are probably iPhone users who are more likely to have internet access than other mobile devices. Retailers captilizing on this trend by sending alerts are also boosting lagging sales.

3. Manufacturers Got Greater Power to Set Retail Prices, Including Online
People use the web to find the best deals, but that price break is in jeoprody. Manufacturers may deny access to retailers who sell their products for lower prices. In June 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruled for greater legal protection on manufacturers who set minimum pricing policies. This could help the big guys and hurt the little guys.

4. New Versions of Web Browsers make Price Comparisons Easier
Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla’s Firefox 3, and Google Chrome have added features to help deal hunters find teh best prices. “Among IE8’s new features, for example, are “webslices” that let consumers click to take part of a retail web site—a dynamically changing product page of a favorite pair of pricey shoes, for example—and insert it into their IE8 browser for viewing whenever they happen to be on the web, even if they’re shopping another online shoe store.”

5. Social Network Marketing Grows
This is still the buzz with tutorials and success stories touted. Dell said they made a million using Twitter to communicate with customers. Brands are exploring social networks for their viral and branding power.

6. The Internet Amplifies the Power of Customer Reviews
A postive customer review of a product is better than advertising and found and shared easily online. Reviews aren’t new but retailers are adding them and customers search them to make decisions on what to buy.

7. Amazon Dominates doubled the 2007 web sales of its nearest competitor. They’re doing mobile marketing, social network marketing, and contiually innovating. This is good news in a sour economy. This headline tells it all: “Q3 net sales up 31% at Amazon to $4.26 billion.”

8. eBay Scrambles to Reverse Falling Profits
eBay reported its first-ever decline in the dollar value of sales in the third quarter and that’s 1% less than last year. Instead of raising seller fees they lowered them to try to compete with Amazon.

9. Tech Vendors Hurting
Retailers outsource tech work. With the economy going south, tech vendors can go under.  It can hurt when your main service provider closes shop.

10. as an Example: Lawsuit Forces Accommodations for Blind Shoppers
Target was sued by the National Federation of the Blind to make their site more accessible two years ago. They had to add the option to listen to content. Their site previously blocked blind shoppers software from reading alt text with images.

Take the example of eBay. You know online businesses can’t rest on past success. Competition is always fearce but as the economy is sinking and with rapid innovation, it’s even more important not to ignor these trends. Do it and you’ll become outdated. In today’s market you could go bankrupt.

How is your business using mobile, social networks, or otherwise changing to meet these trends?


Nick Stamoulis

Online will def. be an area i think retailers are going to really target for 2009. Offline being so expensive at this point companies will not have a choice.

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