A survey of European retailers has found that companies are planning on increasing the number of online channels that they sell products through as the industry looks to maximise revenues in a highly competitive economy. The study, conducted by ecommerce specialists, ChannelAdviser, surveyed participants across medium to large retailers and found that although more than half of them already had a presence in more than five online channels, 87% of firms are still looking for alternative channels and wish to expand the channels they sell through in the next three years.

The channel most likely to benefit from this new emphasis on new channels and opportunities, is Amazon, which was identified a quarter of all respondents as the channel with the most potential to increase sales, ahead of rival site eBay, paid search marketing form Google, comparison sites, social networks and even a company’s own ecommerce channel.

As expected, social commerce continues to sit high on retailers’ agendas, with 40% of participants already active on Facebook and just under a third (32%) active on Twitter.  One in five retailers (21%) see social networking as a sales channel in its own right, with more than half (64%) already using Facebook as a marketing tool and almost one third (32%) of respondents using the social network as a community engagement channel.

James Scott, Managing director, EMEA, ChannelAdvisor, said: “Channels such as Amazon, eBay, Google and, increasingly Facebook represent a fantastic opportunity for retailers to take their products and services to a whole new audience. E-commerce is currently growing at 19% year on year across Europe, at the same as it is becoming increasingly complex, sophisticated and competitive. It is vital that retailers can start to generate sales from any new platform they engage on quickly and cost-effectively, so its no surprise to see that they are primarily focusing on established and proven channels to make the most of this rapidly expanding market.”

He continued: “Yet at the same time retailers need to keep a very close eye on the more revolutionary models now being explored by social commerce. These platforms have huge potential and those businesses that can crack social commerce will have  a chance to put themselves way ahead of the competition, which explains the uptake of channels such as Facebook and Twitter.”

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com