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EDITORIAL Debenhams, Bonmarché, IMRG: online sales grow as in-store sales fall

Online shopping is only going to get bigger

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we report as the divide between store and online sales opens up still further. Retailers from Debenhams to Bonmarché and Footasylum are reporting fast growing online sales that are in line with IMRG figures, also out today, that show a 19% improvement for ecommerce over the last three months – a figure last seen in 2010.

While online seems very buoyant, it’s a very different picture in stores, where Debenhams, Bonmarché and others are seeing sales fall. There’s a clear suggestion that, despite the month-to-month vagaries of weather and events from the Royal Wedding to the World Cup, shoppers are taking their buying power further online for the long-term. It’s now easier and more convenient to buy via a phone than with a trip to the stores. The trick now is to adjust to that changing behaviour. That’s what and Google are teaming up to do, as they look for new frictionless ways of buying.

Andy Mulcahy of IMRG says that it’s not yet clear how the store will change, and it seems that turbulent times on the high street are set to continue while retailers negotiate that change for themselves. Perhaps stores will feature the digital smart mirrors that Mastercard is championing this week – equally, perhaps they won’t. It will depend on the response from consumers who are often very slow to change the way they shop. Today we focus on what consumers love – and hate – about shopping online, as seen through two recent studies.

But ultimately a new normal will emerge and at InternetRetailing we’ll be watching with interest, reporting as retail changes, to see what that new picture will be. Our prediction is, however, that online won’t be enough on its own and that some level of retail – or brand – store will continue to be demanded by shoppers. What will change, as the high street changes, are our expectations of the results that such stores will bring, and of what retail means. Today’s guest comment comes from Paysafe’s BD Goel who considers how payments will work in the connected home of the not-so-distant future. 


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