RealTime IT News

Canadian Retail Slowpokes but Headed to Net

[Mississauga, CANADA] Canadian retailers are slow when it comes to integrating the Internet into their businesses and adopting an e-commerce strategy, according to a new study by IDC, Microsoft, and Compaq Canada.

The National Online Retail Industry Study indicates that 64 percent of Canadian retailers recognize that they are lagging behind their U.S. counterparts in this area. However, it also shows that most expect to have an Internet and e-commerce strategy in place by 2001.

Key findings of the research include:

  • Only 26 percent see Internet integration into their business among their top three priorities or better.
  • Almost 50 percent do not have a clearly defined strategy to integrate the Internet at this time.
  • 64 percent expect to have an Internet and e-commerce strategy by 2001.
  • More than 70 percent want their Web site solution to aid in customer service and care.
  • More than 50 percent want their Web site solution to provide marketing support.
  • More than 70 percent will need consulting support to apply the technology.
  • Nearly 70 percent will need training and education on the solution.
"The results indicate that the retail industry in Canada is taking a cautious but measured approach to integrating the Internet into their business," said Anthony Cina, Research Manager at IDC Canada.

"Most retail organizations will be focusing on areas that can provide a healthy return on their investment. Two of the main areas we see retail organizations focusing on in the next 12 to 18 months are improving customer service through Web sites and e-procurement."

"Based on other e-commerce studies Compaq has seen, Canada's retail sector is no worse or no better than other industry sectors in terms of its deployment of Internet technologies," said John Keogh, director of Manufacturing & Retail Industry Solutions, Enterprise Solutions & Services Group at Compaq Canada.

"That said, it has more to gain from e-commerce than most sectors. We are encouraged by the fact that the majority of those surveyed intend to have a strategy in place by next year."

The study was based on survey responses from 132 of the top 200 retailers in Canada by revenue. The target respondents comprised of senior store operational managers, senior merchandising managers, and senior IT managers.