Editor's Comment

Ocado, Joules and H&M: IRUK Top100 retailers on multichannel development

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we pull out key multichannel themes from the latest figures from IRUK Top100 retailers Ocado, Joules and H&M. All are enjoying relatively fast online growth, while at the same time warning of increased pressure on profits, at a time when sterling remains weak and cost prices are rising. The pressure is on to keep prices low for the consumer, while at the same time remaining profitable. All three appear to agree that the answer to this condundrum lies in focusing on customer service, while at the same time using technology to innovate and stand out from the crowd. Becoming ever more efficient is a key part of this, agree Ocado and H&M, both using technologies including automation and data analysis to understand what customers want and how to serve them most efficiently.

To this, we’d add that it’s important not to forget to keep businesses human at a time when connecting emotionally with customers is more important than ever. That means using technology, as Ocado has done in its customer service operations, to keep a job that now involves vast amounts of data manageable for staff. For H&M and Ocado, it means stores: in its results, H&M says being close to its customers is vital to its business – that’s why it’s expanding on the high street as well as online.

Today we also report on how Beaverbrooks is now enabling its Chinese visitors to pay using Alipay, and on the growing role of the mobile phone in shopping this Christmas.

Today’s guest comment comes from Emma Roe of Shulmans LLP, who considers the potential impact of Brexit on how retailers handle their customer data.

Webinars
The next InternetRetailing webinar is on February 22, when RedEye’s CCO Matthew Kelleher will consider whether technology companies are giving marketers what they really want. He points to a disconnect between the technology companies and their clients, and will ask what support retailers need from their providers to make their marketing strategies work. In a world of intuitive marketing tech, is there still a part for people to play? will be on February 22 at 2pm. Visit the RedEye webinar page to find and more and register for the free event.

Click to visit the Internet Retailing webinars page to catch up on the latest webinars. On March 16, Pitney Bowes’ senior vice president, consumer and merchant solutions Jonathan Kapplow will be looking at practical approaches to selling via the global marketplaces that are expected to represent 39% of the online retail market in 2020. How to expand into high growth emerging economies through global marketplaces is at 2pm on March 16. Visit the Pitney Bowes webinar page to find out more and register for the free event.

Image credits:
  • Ocado