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North American retailers move away from ecommerce

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Leading Canadian general merchandiser Canadian Tire has announced the closure of its home delivery service in favour of using its website to drive customers to its stores.

“Because our site is primarily used for research and product comparison, has decided to discontinue selling products online for home delivery,” says the company’s website.

Canadian Tire will, however, continue to invest in its site. From this spring, the company will begin offering a click ‘n’ collect service in some areas to allow customers to order online for later collection at a local store. It is also adding more detailed product information to help consumers choose more easily, plans to improve site navigation and is adding technology that makes the site more accessible for disabled people.

“The site will also look a little different, with bigger, more descriptive pictures and even better product information,” the firm says.

At Borders, meanwhile, new CEO Ron Marshall has called an immediate halt to additional investment in its ecommerce operation — despite the company having previously been an advocate of multi channel retailing. According to StorefrontBacktalk News:

Although the move certainly reflects a new top management strategy that does not see E-Commerce making much money for the company anytime soon — a regrettably realistic assessment — it also is part of a pragmatic strategy of pouring every possible resource into the brick-and-mortars while simultaneously implementing chain-wide — and very deep — budget cuts. As Marshall told senior managers at a recent meeting, Borders needs “to get the financial house in order.”

It’s a legitimate approach, especially given what some Borders execs see as a very real potential for the company going under within a year if something major doesn’t happen soon. One way or the other, change is going to have to happen in the stores, so giving stores unconditional budget priority makes sense.

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