Most B2Cs Have No “Head of E-Commerce,” Say U.K. Researchers

[London, ENGLAND] Fewer than a third of B2C companies in
the U.K. have appointed a “head of e-commerce,” according to
a new survey from consultancy Knowledge Accelerators.

The researchers report that the only industry sector with
a reasonably high density of e-commerce supremos — at
42 percent — is banking and finance. They go on to say
that this sector, too, boasts the most sophisticated and
functional Web sites.

Mike Adams, chief operating officer of Knowledge Accelerators,
said it is clear that too few companies recognize the
importance of communicating brand values at every customer
touchpoint. Only banking and finance offers a “best practice
example” of e-commerce commitment, he said.

“Since very little actual purchasing is conducted online in
this industry, this highlights the fact that a Web site’s main
function should not be transactional, but rather customer service
focused,” said Adams.

He added that the emphasis for the “second wave” of online
business is on using the Web to enhance an offline brand. The
techniques range from simply offering the consumer another
channel of communication, right through to actually strengthening
brand values — as demonstrated in The Body Shop’s “interactivism”

“Communicating brand values, especially for global brands which,
apart from above the line advertising, have no direct contact
with the consumer, is where the true power of a Web site lies,”
said Adams.

The survey from Knowledge Accelerators also contains a
measurement of the e-commerce functionality of each company’s
B2C Web site. Once again, banking and finance came out on top
with an index score of 147. Lagging behind at the lower end
were the retail industry’s Web sites, scoring an average of 93,
followed by those of the utility companies with 79.

Scoring more highly were the telecoms and high-tech industries,
with 123 and 101 respectively — the second and third highest
scores. However, they achieved this result with a relatively
low percentage of heads of e-commerce, say the researchers.

Knowledge Accelerators, which claims to help companies by
turning existing data into business knowledge, is not unduly
distressed by the figures. The front page of its own Web site
insists: “Let’s be clear about one thing — Internet business
is not about to fall lemming-like over the edge of the cliff…”

No one mentioned whether Dotcom Graveyard is located at the top
or the bottom of the cliff, however.

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