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.

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