Marks & Spencer beefs up e-business for Xmas

Marks & Spencer has revamped its e-commerce operation in preparation for the Christmas trading period.

Marks & Spencer has revamped its e-commerce operation in preparation for the Christmas trading period.

The company hopes that extending its online range and increasing the functionality of its Web site will help recapture the customers it lost following the closure of its catalogue direct mail business earlier this year.

The www.marksandspencer.com/ site is now linked to one of the retailer's core distribution centres, giving online customers access to more than 4,500 products, 1,000 of which are specifically targeted at Christmas shoppers.

As part of the functionality improvements, customers are now able to securely register their details online, receive personal e-mails to remind them of special occasions, compare similar products and use a quick order facility.

M&S is also trialing international ordering facilities in Canada, where customers can view, order and pay for goods over the Internet for delivery to UK addresses. If successful, the company said it will look at expanding the scheme to other countries.

"We launched our site with an emphasis on availability, reliability and ease of use," said Peter Robinson, head of e-commerce at M&S. "The new site adheres to these principals and enhances them by integrating our stock ordering and delivery facilities with the core business to create improved customer service."

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