Driving web traffic is biggest challenge faced by online retailers, SpinMe research reveals

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Driving traffic to websites is the biggest challenge faced by online retailers, according to new research.

The study, carried out by online imaging specialist SpinMe in July, surveyed prominent retailers across the fashion, automotive, sporting, homeware and leisure sectors.

Forty one per cent said that getting potential customers to online shops was the top issue, while finding innovative ways to market products and staying competitive came joint second, each taking 24% of the vote. Eleven per cent felt selling in a global marketplace was their biggest challenge.

When asked how they would enhance their websites if they had unlimited time and resources, a further 41% of retailers said they would like to make more use of social media channels. Better online customer support and interaction was the next most popular wish list item, with 29% wanting to improve this area of their business.

Eighteen per cent of those surveyed were keen to devote more time to researching emerging technology platforms, while developing and curating a more personalised website topped 12% of retailers’ lists.

“While the industry is awash with talk of internationalisation, it’s interesting to see the biggest challenge for retailers is closer to home,” said David Brint, managing director of SpinMe. “Alongside this, our survey found that social media is the top ‘wish list’ priority. Given the social platform opens up channels offering many new ways of attracting traffic, such as Instagram and its photo editing options or the wide range of inspirational photos on Pinterest, perhaps social media should become an industry priority rather than a ‘nice to have’ as it could enrich two areas of business.”

SpinMe’s study also revealed that retailers look to the technology industry for information on understanding more about emerging developments. 35% wanted to tap into industry knowledge to increase efficiency, work flow and offer customers a better experience through merchandising.

Almost two thirds (63%) of retailers would like how-to videos and tutorials on product styling and imaging techniques. Additionally, 35% also wanted access to images over the cloud.

Twenty three per cent of retailers said the biggest challenge they face when capturing product images are lighting and styling difficulties, while a further 23% found post-production time consuming. Consistent image quality, increasingly demanding volumes of product photos and creative direction drew an equal number of votes, with 18% finding each of these areas frustrating.