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EDITORIAL Card Factory, Aldi, JD Sports and more on the steady march towards multichannel retailing

If today’s InternetRetailing newsletter had a theme it would be one of the steady move towards multichannel retailing. Retailers that previously focused on their high street presence are now looking to make more of their sales online, after their pandemic experience showed that shoppers could and would buy from them online. At the same time, pureplay brands and retailers are looking to boost their brand awareness by moving into stores, often through partnerships with more established retailers. 

Today we report as Card Factory plans a transformational move towards a much more omnichannel model as it looks to turn over £600m by its 2026 financial year. The retailer, like many others, has seen its online sales expand quickly in recent years, while its high street stores have yet to catch up with the footfall they saw pre-Covid-19. Now it plans to offer more convenient delivery options – both to home and to existing and new stores – along with mobile apps and intelligent recommendations. 

Aldi, similarly, found a strong customer appetite for home delivery and click and collect services. It now says it will expand its collection services, and is planning a till-free store as part of a £1.3bn investment to grow its UK market share. 

Both retailers are planning more stores, but are making the point that those stores must offer more convenient digital services, as part of a seamless retail experience. 

JD Sports has stepped into the beauty sector by taking a stake in millennial haircare brand Hairburst. It plans a multichannel future for the retailer, perhaps within branches of its own stores and through offering multichannel services such as click and collect. 

Asda and musicMagpie have extended a sustainability project that sees shoppers sell their secondhand smartphones – and other technology – to musicMagpie via both a presence in the supermarket’s stores and online.

Both of these examples see brands that started online finding potential growth by gaining access to stores – that are run by a third party.

Elsewhere, Asos is investing £14m in a new Belfast tech hub as it recruits digital talent to power its future growth. As yet Asos is still an online-only retailer, although it does work with third-party multichannel retailer Nordstrom in the US to sell via its stores. 

And in today’s guest comment, Serge Milbank of Confer With, considers what video commerce can offer retailers. 

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