The Ecommerce Foundation, an international non-profit organisation for research into e-commerce, recently launched the international E-commerce Benchmark. With the free tool companies can compare their e-commerce activities with their peers and where possible improve their performance. Four consulting firms have been named by the non-profit as a consulting partner to the initiative.
E-commerce is becoming more and more important for companies. According to recent research by Capgemini, UK retail shoppers spent £104 billion online in 2014, an increase of 14% on 2013 and 24% of total retail market. Peak sales not surprisingly occurs during the Christmas period, the eight weeks between 2nd November and 27th December, with about a fifth of the spend (£21.6 billion) finding its way to gifts and bargains. This is expected to undergo 12% growth in 2015, with total e-retail sales estimated to be worth £116 billion by year end. To take advantage of the growing e-commerce market, retailers would be well placed to develop winning strategies and to implement them effectively.
In practice however, irrespective of the legion of methodologies and examples of best practices, retailers continue to struggle with the successful implementation of e-commerce strategies. A recent study from Kurt Salmon for instance revealed that a mere 5% of retailers actually can be classified onmi-channel proof. To support retailers in improving their practices, the Ecommerce Foundation – an independent organisation initiated by 16 national associations in the retail landscape* – has decided to launch the ‘E-commerce Benchmark’, a tool that provides insight and a measure of maturity around e-commerce performance in comparison with other international companies. The benchmark is based on the Bonsing/Mann model and assesses 21 different kinds of performance indicators in reference to e-commerce, including the customer journey, financial factors and organisational performance.
For companies that want to, on the basis of the results, make more specific comparisons and/or are looking to get straight down to making positive changes in their practices, they can engage directly with knowledge and consulting partners of the Ecommerce Foundation. The foundation has entered into partnerships with four consulting firms that are expert in e-commerce matters and are available to answer questions – from strategy to implementation and ICT – and solve problems. The four consultancy partners are Capgemini (global), Eurogroup Consulting (part of the nextcontinent network**), De Nieuwe Zaak (Netherlands) and Symcore (Poland).
“Our clients have a keen interest in comparing themselves to similar companies; to underpin strategic choices or to know where there is potential for improvements. For a relevant comparison you do however need to look over the fence, therefore we thought an international e-commerce benchmark would be valuable for the market”, relates Axel Groothuis, partner at Eurogroup Consulting, about the motivation for the collaboration.
* Partners include among others Retail Excellence Ireland, Thuiswinkel (Netherlands), Greca (the Greek e-Commerce Association; Greece) and Händlerbund (Germany) and adigital (Spain).
** Nextcontinent is a network of mainly European consulting firms, although it also has Asia-based members (e.g. Solidiance). The network encompasses 1,100 consultants working from 33 offices in 28 countries.