Online retail innovation and a cutting-edge customer experience are no longer the sole domain of a few retail pure-plays (Amazon.com, eBay and multi-channel pioneers with hundreds of millions of dollars to invest. With recent forecasts from Forrester Research predicting that U.S. online retail revenues will top the quarter-trillion-dollar mark by 2011, retailers of all shapes and sizes, like Home Depot , Nike and Cabela's, continue to up their annual investment in the online channel, both through in-house investments and third-party specialists.
Shoppers can expect some new bells and whistles on their favorite online storefronts during the 2006 holiday shopping season, but the biggest changes, while visible on the storefront, are taking place behind the scenes.This is normal These innovations deliver benefits so sewn into the fabric of online shopping sessions that most consumers, at first glance, may not even notice. Like merchandisers mastering the art of brick-and-mortar store layouts and displays, when done right, it just seems natural -- and helpful -- as if it should have always been that way. Shoppers can quickly hone in on and compare desirable products without having to page through hundreds of options, while retailers can expose the full breadth of their catalog without having to predict all of the ways customers may look for products. It's as if the site were designed with each individual shopper in mind. Since it shares a similar look and feel with classic search and navigation site elements, shoppers can take advantage of these changes immediately without having to learn how to use new shopping tools.