Britain's biggest retailers risk losing trade to overseas competitors if they do not sort out their ecommerce strategy, according to research published this week.
Two thirds of UK Internet shoppers expressed surprise at not being able to purchase online from many major UK retailers, while 70 per cent of them say they would happily buy goods from overseas suppliers, according to a survey by Mori for Hewlett Packard.
"British retailers must react soon or risk losing out to their European or even US counterparts who are more switched on to the online economy," said Jolanta Pilecka, ecommerce marketing manager at HP.
UK Internet shoppers want to buy from established high street brands, according to the survey, with 49 per cent making site design and supplier reputation a priority.
Of the most popular brands people would like to buy from online, some - such as Tesco and Safeway - are well advanced with their ecommerce offerings, while others including Marks & Spencer and Boots, do not yet offer online shopping.
"I'd trust well known high street names: Gap, Virgin, Boots, Debenhams and supermarket names," said one 35 year old male Internet user surveyed by Mori.
However, another user, female aged 37, told Mori: "If I couldn't get it through an established name in this country, I would use a foreign company."
HP, which this week launched its own service to get retailers online, called HP Emporium (see Newswire 30 March), says the figures should send a warning to major retailers.
"Big brand names are in the best position to immediately exploit ecommerce, but if they don't start moving soon the threat from foreign competition is real," said Pilecka.
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