Editor's Comment

Focus on omnichannel in this year’s Christmas trading figures

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In today’s packed InternetRetailing newsletter we have the latest updates on how Christmas trading was for a host of IRUK Top500 retailers.

One easy conclusion to draw from these results is that grocers did well simply as the price of what they were selling rose – and others suffered as shoppers spent their cash on food. But while food price inflation is no doubt playing its part in helping to lift sales, that’s not true across the board. In our piece on grocers, general retailers and department stores we see that M&S food sales were down on a like-for-like basis, part of a general downturn at the retailer, while some retailers selling non-food goods, such as John Lewis, did very well and enjoyed some of the strongest festive trading they’d ever seen.

Equally, our round-up of fashion trading, where food prices played no part, shows that Quiz, Superdry and Boohoo.com all showed very strong performances, while Moss Bros, which did not, lamented falling footfall.

One thing that retailers that did well have in common is recent investment in a strong omnichannel model that enables them to serve customers in the way that they want to be served. It’s not enough simply to have multichannel capabilities that have not been updated for some time. These need to be strengthened and adapted to reflect the new ways that customers want to shop. That may mean doing adopting new tools and approaches, but equally it may mean not doing things that used to work but now don’t.

This is also reflected in half-year results from Superdry and full-year results from Shoe Zone: both show that multichannel services are working to a greater or lesser extent for them. That said, digital is not enough on its own. Superdry is continuing to roll out stores as part of its strategy to build on its position as a global digital brand, while Shoe Zone is recalibrating its store network.

Some ideas as to what might be important in the future are contained in today’s round up of retail predictions around robots and tailored customer experiences, while we also bring news that Ocado has this week unveiled the first prototype of its SecondHands warehouse assistant.

Today we also have the first RetailX AU250 Footprint Report – representing our first look at the Australian market,

Today’s guest comment comes from Craig Smith of Amplience, who considers how brand advocates can become brand content masters.

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