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EDITORIAL Digital commerce has taken centre stage for retailers and consumers over the last year – and is set to stay there

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‘There is no doubt that the significance of digital-led shopping experiences and habits are here to stay,’ says Capgemini’s Lucy Gibbs in today’s InternetRetailing newsletter. Gibbs is commenting on November’s super-sharp rise in ecommerce sales – as tracked by the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index – thanks to the combination of lockdown and peak trading. But she could just as well be referring to the fast growth that Zara-to-Massimo Dutti-owner Inditex and have seen in their online sales over the last year. 

Both have enjoyed significant growth in their online sales as shoppers have turned online from lockdown and while working from home. And both have responded to that move by integrating their stores and digital still further. Inditex’s digital platform brings together the store and online, enabling functionality including online stock checking of in-store products.  Made responded to the pandemic with a curated apartment that housebound shoppers could browse and buy from online. Today we also report as multichannel fashion retailer H&M shows how Covid-19 has affected its 2020 figures.

Fast online growth has been marked this year, but has peaked when shoppers have had no other option than to buy online. Our latest Peak 2020 round-up reports on footfall figures that show visitors returning to high streets when they are able to. Nonetheless, recent retail sales figures from sources including the ONS show online shopping retaining a higher share of retail even when shops reopen. It’s likely that more retailers will need to ensure their online and high street presences move further together in the near future. The importance of ensuring that shoppers can buy in the most convenient way – a strategy for many retailers before Covid-19 – has shown its merit in the past few months, and is likely to continue to be highly relevant in the future. 

But it’s not for all, according to the author of today’s guest comment. Adalsteinn Valdimarsson of K3 Business Technologies argues that despite the general move of shopping online this year, ecommerce is not right for every retailer. 

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