Majority of online retailers struggle to fill the data skills gap

Research commissioned by eCommera, a pioneering provider of intelligent eCommerce trading solutions, and conducted by Coleman Parkes, has revealed that 73% of ecommerce directors cite a lack of appropriate skills and resources in their business as a key challenge to growth. This can be attributed to the vast differences between online and offline retail, with eCommerce much more data intensive, and in turn demanding analytical skills to translate data into actionable information.

The survey, conducted with 100 eCommerce directors in August 2011, asked about eCommerce directors’ greatest challenge. The survey also found that 59% felt there was a lack of effectiveness resulting from a misalignment between functions, while 54% felt there was a lack of understanding / backing for online from the senior management team. In addition, 48% said that they were challenged by their ability to understand the data for decision making, while 47% said they had a lack of appropriate tools and technologies.

The demands of eCommerce are sufficiently different to that of traditional retail that retailers are still struggling to put the appropriate skills and resources in place to drive business growth. Online retail cannot be managed by simply walking the floor, as with stores, and the online management team requires specialist skills that are unlikely to be found in their offline retail business.

Michael Ross, Director of eCommera, says, “Given the growing contribution of non-store sales to retailers and the growth of online business generally, it is natural that eCommerce professionals are faced with so many challenges in an area that is still young and changing very fast. However, it is also worth pointing out that many of these challenges can be relatively easily fixed.”

eCommera’s research was undertaken as the company prepares to launch Intelligent Trader, its own response to the skills gap and the growing need by retailers and brands to put data more effectively to work to drive profit. eCommerce directors will gather in London on September 28th to discuss the issues raised by this research and keynotes will be given by Dr Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist at, Dr. Vince Darley, Head of Analytics and Optimisation at Ocado, Anita Balchandani who has worked with Shop Direct Group and Asda  internationally in shaping and delivering their strategic agenda, and Michael Ross, co-founder of eCommera and the driving force behind Intelligent Trader.


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