The analyst firm said retailers in western Europe have increased their investment in technologies such as web data standard XML to enhance connectivity and improve data transfer accuracy, allowing them to improve efficiency and reduce costs and time to market.
Electronic Data Interchange systems are still heavily used in the retail sector, but the evolution of e-procurement strategies is driving firms to focus on integrating these systems via the web, IDC said.
The increased use of web-based technology among European retailers has addressed a number of issues, said Cinzia Rinelli, senior research analyst at IDC.
"Technology has enabled retailers to reduce distances, integrate and connect value chains, and provide a rapidly increasing amount of information for storage, transfer and use," she said. "Meanwhile, the internet is emerging as a truly global channel and is providing retailers with unique opportunities, as well as challenges, for conducting business with consumers and other businesses."
According to Rinelli, retailers should be asking their technology suppliers to create a strategy for e-business initiatives that balance the trade-off between new IT implementations that exploit existing investments and the pressing need to cut internal costs.