Editor's Comment

Why online and stores still matter as customer demand changes

Customer loyalty

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting both on how customer behaviour is changing, and on how the way retailers employ their staff is changing at the same time.

For while shoppers, today’s research suggests, are more in favour of click and collect, don’t like queues, and hesitate to spend large sums online, retailers are slowly but steadily reducing their head count and the hours its staff work. In part, that comes as they reduce store numbers and right size their estates in the light of internet shopping. When shoppers can more easily buy online, there isn’t a need for each retailer to have the same number of stores. But remains clear from this and other pieces of customer research that stores still have an important role to play.

Perhaps the other piece of the customer research that’s playing a role here is the rise and rise of Amazon – representing online shopping at its easiest and most convenient. Figures out this week from retailers including Asos reflect the growth that retailers are enjoying online. Indeed, according to the IMRG and MetaPack, December saw record online parcel deliveries. But the other figure from these findings shows why customers still won’t entirely trust their Christmas – or other – shopping to online retailers. A higher proportion of parcels were delivered late this December, while many will still have rushed to the shop to buy their urgent gifts. Just as the store no longer offers today’s shoppers all the answers, neither does online. It’s through a combination of two that successful retailers such as Hotel Chocolat are now seeing their profits and sales grow.

Today’s predictions for 2018 are around retail strategies, while today’s guest comment comes from Alison Wiltshire of BT, who considers the importance of cyber defences in retailing.

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.

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