Editor's Comment

How multichannel retailers are evolving to meet customers’ changing needs

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re looking at how multichannel retailers are evolving the way they sell as they look to meet the ongoing change in customer behaviour. This week Debenhams and M&S detailed plans to reconfigure their store estates, while Debenhams also spelt out how it will look to use mobile and social to encourage more visits to its stores in future. Shopping centre developer and operator Land Securities, meanwhile, is making virtual reality gaming an attraction at its Trinity Leeds shopping centre.

All have in common the need to cater for people who are increasingly seeing store shopping as either a highly convenient, fast shopping experience for items that are needed quickly, or as a leisurely, inspirational activity. Online, meanwhile, is meeting an intermediate need for functional shopping. Strategic approaches such as those from Debenhams and M&S are part of a necessary evolution in a sector now feeling the bite from inflation, according to today’s ONS Retail Sales figures. It seems likely that retail sales will slow as prices now start to increase in the wake of the Brexit decision – and retailers of all stripes will need to compete, introducing innovative approaches while also ensuring they have the basics covered.

Today we also have suggestions for how retailers can make easy wins to improve their services. Research from digital agency Ampersand suggests that while next-day delivery is shoppers’ favoured delivery option, a significant number of retailers don’t offer it. And today’s guest comment comes from Matthew Robertson of Net Despatch, who argues that retailers need to bring their delivery options up-to-date.

Webinars
Upcoming InternetRetailing webinars are from Greenlight Commerce, on how BHS relaunched online in just seven weeks, to be held at 2pm on May 4, and from inRiver on how retailers can shape their product marketing for the micromoment, to be held at 2pm on May 8.

Find out more about them and register for free on the InternetRetailing webinar page. You can also catch up with past webinars on the page: recent sessions have come from IBM Watson on using AI to improve the customer experience, and from SmartFocus and The Entertainer on using social to reach digital customers.

Image credits:
  • Shutterstock