Editor's Comment

Different strokes: how IRUK Top500 traders are tackling a challenging retail environment

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Leading UK retailers are agreed, in today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, that it’s a challenging retail environment. The continued weakness of sterling, the resulting inflation and shoppers growing unwillingness to spend are all given as causes of that challenge by traders from New Look to John Lewis and Domino’s Pizza. Today we report on the different steps they are taking in order to meet that challenge.

For the John Lewis Partnership, it’s about focusing on, and investing in, the customer experience at the expense of short-term profits. For New Look, it’s about reducing store numbers, for Domino’s Pizza it’s about focusing on value, and ensuring the fastest possible delivery. Technology is a particular focus this week both for Ocado, which is using machine learning against fraud, and for the Co-op, which is trialling pay-in-aisle technology that has echoes of the Amazon Go store model.

Just as challenging times affect each retailer differently, so their responses may well vary. But ultimately in an era when the customer is king, focusing on their experience must be a prerequisite for all. By sharing these different approaches, it may well be that others come up with their own good ideas, which we’ll look forward to sharing in future newsletters.

The upcoming IRX 2018 looks set to be another rich source of good ideas for how retailers can strengthen their businesses in a challenging climate: in today’s preview preview of IRX 2018 we interview Mandeep Singh of Trouva on how retailers can best use the marketplace model.

Find out how Top500 retailers are communicating with their customers in our latest report, the IRUK Top500 Brand Engagement Performance Dimension Report. Today’s guest comment comes from Alex Mills of ProSKU on how better stock control can make retail businesses more efficient.

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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