Editor's Comment

From Amazon to Hammerson: how leading players are investing in the future of retailing

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as Amazon shows its confidence in the future of ecommerce by expanding its UK workforce, as online retail sales make a ‘steady’ start to the year, and as Hammerson sets out its view of the changing role of stores at a time when multichannel retailers are honing their strategies.

These are just a few examples of how online and store-based retail are evolving in order to create the kind of relevant, digital-driven shopping that customers now want. Shoppers are buying more online, and spending less time in shops. Nonetheless, those stores remain vital for retail strategies that are increasingly designed to offer shoppers the convenience of buying and taking delivery wherever, whenever and however is most convenient. There are headwinds coming, the IMRG warns, as the reality of Brexit becomes ever more clear.

It takes investment in the right areas to make multichannel retailing work. For Amazon it’s clear that people are a key priority in that. Its strategy to help its existing and future workforce become more skilled, in particular, seems an apt response to a shortage of workers who are equipped for the demands of a fast-growing business that depends on ever-updating technology – and one that could work for UK retail more widely.

For Hammerson, it’s about rethinking the store, as retailers opt for sites that are suited to the demands of multichannel retailing, such as easy parking for click and collect missions, and the digital infrastructure, such as wi-fi, that enables shoppers to use their smartphones in the store.

In today’s IRX preview, we make the case for retailers selling via marketplaces, and in our guest comment slot, Spreadshirt chief executive Philip Rooke considers the possibilities of an Electronic World Trade Platform.

We look beyond business to consumer retail as we report on Punch Taverns’ new B2B ecommerce platform.

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.

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.

On March 21, web performance experts Andy Davies and Simon Hearne of the NCC Group join InternetRetailing for a webinar looking at how retailers can make their sites perform better and faster, and how they can measure existing experiences and learn from that data to make improvements in the right places. Is your site’s speed losing you sales is at 2pm. <a
Click to visit the Internet Retailing webinar page to catch up on the latest events.

IRX and EDX
Eight conferences packed with retail speakers and covering everything from omnichannel and international to delivery are running at the InternetRetailing Expo, from April 5 to 6 at the NEC in Birmingham. To learn more about IRX 2017, its sister conference eDelivery Expo and to register for free, visit www.internetretailingexpo.com and www.edeliveryexpo.com.

Attendees can also get a 25% discount on their train fare to the NEC when they book through the IRX or EDX visitor information website.