Editor's Comment

New Look, Boohoo.com, Shoe Zone: how IRUK retailers are planning for an uncertain future

Today’s election results mean that right now the political future is far from clear.
The uncertain result means there’s yet less clarity than previously about what Brexit will mean for retailers and their customers. Customer demand is changing at the same time, creating further uncertainties.

But what is for certain is that the way we shop is changing constantly – and that retailers and brands will need to keep transforming their approach to selling if they are to benefit from the opportunities that change will bring. But we believe that by learning from existing and potential customers about how and when they want to buy, retailers will benefit from consumer demand, despite these wider uncertainties.

We see that in this week’s InternetRetailing newsletter in New Look’s results. The retailer says that shoppers’ growing impatience to get hold of the goods they want to buy as soon as can be is having an impact on its business, and the wider market. That’s prompted the retailer to refocus on its buying, while it continues to develop multichannel services that fit with customers’ changing approach. Its lower sales and profits are a setback, but one that is met with a plan for change.

By contrast, Boohoo.com is planning for huge growth, developing warehouses that give it the capacity to sell more than £3bn worth of clothes a year. Meanwhile, eBay research shows a growing demand from overseas consumers for British products, despite the Brexit decision. And Shoe Zone is seeing high demand via mobile for its value shoes. It’s clear from these contrasting stories that pitching the right products at the right time to the right consumers can be highly lucrative – but that getting it wrong can come at a cost.

There’s advice on offer this week from Accenture Strategy, which says digital transformation is a must, and has guidance on different models for that transformation. Meanwhile, today’s guest comment comes from Khalid Saleh of Invesp with advice on engagement-led marketing.

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Find out more about upcoming InternetRetailing webinars 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.