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Retailers Should Integrate E-Commerce With Overall Operations

The failure of many retailers to integrate their e-commerce and physical operations can lead to inefficiencies and customer confusion, Shop.org reports.
Retailers with independent structure for online marketing, merchandising, and sales have generated significant growth and profits, but lack of integration can eventually lead to inefficiencies and customer confusion, Shop.org reports.

Shop.org, the digital division of the National Retail Federation, released a report "Organizing for Cross-channel Retailing," on Wednesday after six months of study. The research, conducted by J.C. Williams Group, is based on interviews with retail executives and round table workshops with executives.

The report concludes that integration is most likely to succeed through top-down initiatives, but one size doesn't fit all when it comes to cross-channel retailing, a new study has found.

"Integrating the operations of stores and Web sites will undoubtedly lead to greater customer satisfaction, but it is not an easy road," Jim Okamura, senior partner at J.C. Williams Group, said in a statement. "The first retailers to accomplish this structural change successfully will achieve a competitive advantage and will quickly be followed by other companies looking to duplicate that accomplishment."

The report comes out as NRF holds its annual convention and expo at the Javits Center in New York City.

Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, said retailers should stop thinking about e-commerce as a separate world and "start thinking about it as part of the overall retail industry because they are serving the same customers.

"It may take another generation of retail leaders, however, before companies are able to best capitalize on the strengths of multiple channels from streamlining their organizational structure," he said.