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EDITORIAL Balancing online and stores as customer demand changes

Today’s InternetRetailing newsletter comes as planning for the Covid 19 coronavirus steps up and we report on how supermarkets are seeing the first signs of what appears to be the retail reaction to the coronavirus. Ocado is advising shoppers to plan further ahead for their online shopping, while there are also insights into how supermarkets are likely to be planning ahead as the effects of the virus spread. 

This is very much about balancing the needs of shoppers who want to buy through the channel that is most convenient for them at a given moment. In that, it’s a challenge that retailers are already tackling all year round as shoppers opt to buy more of their goods online but also want to buy in shops. Both sales channels remain important as customers shift the way they buy, depending on what is most convenient at any given point. It’s noticeable, from today’s stories, that across categories retailers are adapting to offer other ways of shopping, whether it’s an online retailer opening a store, or traditionally store-based retailers adding new ways that shoppers can buy online. 

Today, then, we report as Wickes and Toolstation report strong sales and profits growth after a year of investing online and in stores. We look at what M&S has learned so far from its refillable shopping trial, how Waitrose is expanding its online service as its partnership with Ocado draws to a close, and we report on why online retailer Prezzybox has chosen a service station to open its first-ever shop – 20 years after it was founded.

Elsewhere we’re reporting on the launch of a new AR platform from Michael Valdsgaard of London Dynamics – Valdsgaard previously led Ikea’s digital transformation – and how it promises to help bridge the gap between online and physical retail. In today’s guest comment, James Harvey of Cisco AppDynamics considers how retailers can use data to meet shoppers’ expectations and boost loyalty.

Image: AdobeStock

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