Magazine Article | January 1, 2000

Capitalize On The Technology Tools For E-Retailing

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

Solutions abound that allow brick-and-mortar retailers
to move into the online retailing space.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, January 2000
You don't have to go far to find evidence of e-retailing's rapid growth. Every day, companies are advertising their wares on television and radio. In fact, the second annual Internet Shopping Survey found that 76% of retailers were already selling or were planning to sell on the Web. The survey was conducted by the National Retail Federation and the consulting firm Ernst & Young.

Obstacles To E-Retailing
What is preventing the remaining 24% of retailers from selling online? According to the survey, retailers contend with a number of obstacles, including:

  • the state of security/encryption and electronic commerce technology
  • lack of technology infrastructure
  • insufficient resources (e.g. money and people) for Web site development
  • integration with existing business processes.
In this issue's cover story, overcame significant e-retailing challenges. When KB Toys merged its online operations ( with, the company needed to resolve order fulfillment and customer service issues. Shawn Davidson, KB Toys vice president of technology and operations, selected Smith-Gardner's WebOrder™ Internet Commerce System to help solve these problems.

Technology And Services To Put Retailers Online
A number of technologies and services are available to help launch an e-retailing site. Many of these solutions were displayed at the Conference & Expo, Sept. 26-29, 1999, in Philadelphia. Here are just a few of the solutions available to retailers…

  • E-commerce solutions for the enterprise – Many retail enterprise software providers have developed an e-commerce module for their products. Take GERS Retail Systems (San Diego) and Pandesic (Sunnyvale, CA), for example. [Editor's Note: Pandesic's e-commerce software is built from the SAP R/3 enterprise software. Pandesic is a joint venture for Intel and SAP.] GERS and Pandesic offer e-commerce solutions to handle everything from front end Web site development to back end supply chain automation.

  • E-commerce solutions – Beyond enterprise software providers, few companies have introduced stand-alone e-commerce products and services. (Columbus, OH) is one example. provides e-fulfillment services ranging from technology integration to supply chain consulting.

  • Web site hosting – There are two primary advantages to a retailer's outsourcing its e-commerce site to a host company. First, the retailer does not need to maintain the hardware in-house to support the e-commerce site. Second, the host company typically has the infrastructure to expand a site's bandwidth to handle additional traffic without a site crash.

  • E-commerce merchandising – Retailers have learned that presentation, placement, and pricing of products are important sales tools in brick-and-mortar stores. Software products have been introduced to apply the same merchandising magic to the Web. Take BrightInfo (Mountain View, CA), for example. BrightInfo ( provides e-merchandise management, online branding, and personalization for e-retailing sites. With the help of technology companies, retailers are launching e-retailing sites with little effort — other than signing a check. By all accounts, retailers' investments in e-retailing may pay off. Forrester Research predicts that consumer online shopping will be a $41 billion business by 2002.

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