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DIGITAL RETAIL READING WEEK How shoppers now want to buy – and how retailers are responding

Today’s newsletter is the first in our inaugural Digital Retail Reading Week. Over the course of the week we’re stepping back from the day to day to look back to some of the big ideas and trends that stayed with us through a year of coverage across InternetRetailing newsletters and RetailX reports. 

We’re treating this mid-summer holiday week as a staycation chance to reflect on the direction of travel in ecommerce and multichannel retailing, and to re-read some key pieces that bear further consideration. In this installment, our focus is on how shoppers now want to buy, at a time when Covid-19 appears to have changed everything. 

First up is some required listening. The latest episode of InternetRetailing’s RetailCraft podcast features Stephen Langford, who has recently returned to M&S as ecommerce director. Over the course of half an hour, he talks about who the M&S customer is and how the retailer is responding to both to their demands and to the competition as it continues its digital transformation. 

Then, RetailX research findings suggest more than 92% of shoppers in 19 European markets now buy online at least some of the time, according to RetailX Consumer Observatory research, which features in the latest RetailX Europe Top1000 report.. The series of country surveys has some interesting findings around how shoppers in most markets primarily shop online for the convenience of it, with price and choice often secondary reasons. Meanwhile, few, it seems, have ambitions to change they way they buy now post-pandemic. 

Homewares is one sector that’s seen fast ecommerce growth during the pandemic, at a time when shoppers could not visit stores. We have an overview of the RetailX Homewares sector report, which delves into the detail of how consumer behaviour has changed in this sector over the last year and more. 

We also take a look back at the two parties in Sephora’s acquisition of Feelunique. Both retailers have been well placed to win attention online from shoppers during the pandemic – and we have examined both in recent RetailX reports. The RetailX Europe Brand Index 2021 features a case study of Sephora, ranked Elite in that report. And we spoke to Ting-Ting Lee, head of marketplaces at Feelunique, for the RetailX Brands and Marketplaces 2021 report. Both now provide interesting insights into what shoppers wanted as retail shifted online, and how these beauty retailers supplied that at a practical level at a time when shoppers wanted to buy from them online as never before.

In today’s guest comment, Elliott Jacobs of LiveArea EMEA considers one ecommerce tool that has emerged strongly over the last year – livestream shopping. He considers how livestream shopping can encompass the in-store experience. 

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