This Holiday, U.S. Retailers Focused On Marketing, Not Infrastructure

Online retailers are worrying less about infrastructure and more about marketing and customer service for the 2014 holiday season, according to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. ecommerce professionals by eBay Enterprise.

The 2014 Holiday Retail Audit found that retailers are beefing up spending for data capture and analysis tools, with focuses on social media (29 percent), email promotions (22 percent) and search engine optimization (12 percent). Most omnichannel retailers say the investments make them better prepared to capture in-store consumer data too (87 percent).

Big retailers said they’re also more concerned this year about security (65 percent), though 77 percent have not yet experienced a security breach.

Respondents also said mobile commerce was their top competitive weakness, but 68 percent said they had no plans for more mobile infrastructure investment for holiday 2014. Only one-third called mobile an investment priority, even though it’s the fastest growing segment of ecommerce, Drug Store News reported.

The survey also found that 45 percent of big U.S. online retailers plan to expand across borders for holiday 2014, with the top target markets Canada (23 percent), the U.K. (16 percent), China (15 percent), Australia (7 percent) and Mexico (5 percent). The big retailers cited a lack of reliable local partners (33 percent), diminished market demand (32 percent) and hampered inventory capabilities (31 percent) as top barriers for pursuing new global opportunities.