 New independent research commissioned by Intershop investigates the challenges facing European retailers
 Online retailers struggle to implement sophisticated marketing tools such as A/B testing
 Established retailers more likely to trust experience and gut feeling over data and analytics

London, UK, September 12, 2012 – Intelligently managing an ever-growing product portfolio is the top business challenge facing retailers in the UK today, according to new research commissioned by Intershop, the leading e-commerce software and services provider. The biggest challenge facing European retailers as a whole however is mobile commerce, with 65% of European retailers saying that online retailers that can conquer the challenge of mobile commerce will prevail (ranked in 2nd place in the UK with 63% agreeing). These are the findings of interviews with 310 senior IT and business decision makers at retailers in the UK, France, Germany, Nordics, Italy and Benelux, and available in the new Intershop E-commerce Report.

Top challenges to online retailers in the UK vs. rest of Europe

• The more content (product categories) the online store has, the more difficult it is to manage that content rapidly and intelligently -65% UK, 55% Europe
• Online retailers that can conquer the challenge of mobile commerce will prevail - 63% UK, 65% Europe
• Online retailers typically don't have the team resources to refresh or personalise content as often as they would ideally wish - 58% UK, 47% Europe
• Executing a genuinely identical customer experience across all channels is beyond most online retailers - 57% UK, 48% Europe
• To embrace social media into the online mix, retailers must give away some control - 45% UK, 38% Europe

Other findings include:
• More than half (52%) of retailers in the UK are confident they will see growth in their online operations this year
• The majority of retailers recognise the critical role that their website plays in their success - 72% say that the experience a consumer has on a website can influence what their customers buy, 82% say it influences whether they return and 80% say it influences how much they buy
• 75% of online retailers consider powerful merchandising to be the most important tool for their online store, followed by easy product management (73%) and time-triggered events (62%)
• 63% struggle with self-service targeted test creation, and 62% find it challenging to use integrated flexible A/B testing
• Real-time data and analytics are increasingly important to online retailers. 88% of online retailers in the UK think that it is important to monitor and respond to their website in real-time, although 25% of online retailers are still unable to do this

Jochen Moll, Member of the Board of Managment at Intershop explains, “With almost all retailers operating both online and offline environments today, delivering a consistent customer experience remains a significant challenge for them. For European retailers as a whole, operating an effective and consistent mobile strategy remains the elusive prize. However, if retailers can build their websites with support for multiple channels right at the heart, then an effective mobile strategy should fall into place.”

While conquering mobile is the greatest business challenge facing European online retailers as a whole, integrating flexible A/B testing into their website is singled out as the greatest technical challenge across Europe, with 58% of retailers currently unable to implement A/B testing into their websites.

“A/B testing adds a significant level of intelligence to any e-marketing strategy. By providing an evidence-based means of continually tweaking and revising marketing strategies until they are as effective as they can be, A/B testing is the magic bullet that every online retailer should have in their arsenal. Those retailers who can seamlessly integrate A/B testing into their websites will gain a significant advantage over their competitors,” states Moll.

“We believe the tools exist to enable retailers to capitalize on mobile commerce and overcome the challenges highlighted in this research. With Intershop 7 for example, our latest e-commerce platform, we incorporated the feedback of over 150 online retailers to build a platform that supports every aspect of the multi-channel business. Our aim is to give retailers all the control they need to manage their online business without having to enlist the help of web developers or programmers. Only by gaining this much control over the online business can retailers stay one step ahead,” concludes Moll.

Conducted by Vanson Bourne, the specialist, technology focused market research agency on behalf of Intershop, the report and additional materials, including country breakdowns of the main findings, can be downloaded here: http://www.intershop.com/e-commerce-report.html.

Additional resources
• Intershop E-commerce Report
• UK data summary
• European countries data comparison worksheet
• European E-commerce Report Infographic

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About the research
The research was conducted by Vanson Bourne, a specialist, technology focused market research agency. Vanson Bourne interviewed 310 senior IT and business decision makers from retailers with annual online revenues ranging from £1 million to more than £100 million, in April and May 2012. Sixty interviews were conducted in each of the following countries; UK, France, Germany, Nordics while 35 were conducted each in Italy and Benelux.

About Intershop
Intershop Communications AG (founded in Germany 1992; Prime Standard: ISH2) is a leading provider of comprehensive state-of-the-art e-commerce solutions. Intershop offers high-performance packaged software for internet sales, complemented by all necessary services including comprehensive online marketing consulting and a transaction platform for order-, supplier-, product- and channel management from its daughter companies SoQuero and TheBakery. Intershop also acts as a business process outsourcing provider, covering all aspects of online retailing, including fulfillment. Around the globe more than 500 enterprise customers, including HP, BMW, Deutsche Telekom, and Mexx run Intershop solutions. Intershop is headquartered in Jena, Germany, and has offices in the United States, Europe, and Australia.
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding future events or the future financial and operational performance of Intershop. Actual events or performance may differ materially from those contained or implied in such forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties that could lead to such difference could include, among other things: Intershop's limited operating history, the unpredictability of future revenues and expenses and potential fluctuations in revenues and operating results, significant dependence on large single customer deals, consumer trends, the level of competition, seasonality, risks related to electronic security, possible governmental regulation, and general economic conditions.

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Published on: 9:10AM on 12th September 2012