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EDITORIAL Challenged by the consumer: how M&S, Ocado and the high street are responding to change

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re focusing on some of the challenges facing the high street – from Brexit, to how changing consumer shopping behaviour is affecting high street businesses.

We feature InternetRetailing Magazine editor Emma Herrod’s interview with Sir John Timpson. Timpson says he doesn’t expect 2019 to be worse than 2018 – but, he adds, “who knows?” 

M&S has struck its new deal with Ocado to give consumers the choice of online delivery. It’s no longer enough, it seems, for groceries to be available only from the high street when consumers want the convenience of home delivery. We hear from analysts and industry insiders that M&S may be paying too high a price for that deal – but is that the cost of delay?

Research from IMRG focuses on whether consumers are prepared to pay for that convenience. It questioned 1,000 households to find shoppers appear more willing to pay a small sum if it means that deliveries will arrive at the time and place of their choosing.

This year continues to be a time of uncertainty. HMRC – and Amazon – are encouraging businesses including retailers to act now ahead of a potential no deal Brexit. Retailers may have to take expensive steps ahead of that possibility until it’s clear that the threat has been ruled out or a deal struck. But we’re no closer to knowing as yet how that will develop.

Cross-border trading is one of the areas where retailers can get expert help in the one-to-one clinics that will be open to visitors at IRX 2019. We report on some of the other areas where they can get advice. 

Today’s guest comment comes from Apu Gupta of Curalate who makes the case for serendipity in  digital commerce.

Image: Fotolia

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