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EDITORIAL From Co-op to Mothercare: the different forms that multichannel transformation can take

Transformation means very different things to different retailers. For the Co-op, it’s about using some eye-catching technologies to satisfy – and no doubt set – shoppers’ new demands for convenient shopping, while also closing its online electricals business.

For Mothercare, it’s about reducing store numbers by a fifth over the last year as it works to rebalance its online and store businesses – and its books. For Royal Mail it’s about improving the convenience of its delivery services in response to customer demand.

These transformations take place against the background of an uncertain retail environment. Today we’re also reporting as JD Sports buys Pretty Green out of administration, and as AO World stockpiles against a no deal Brexit. These are responses both to changing customer behaviour and to the highly unusual Brexit situation.

Perhaps the moral is that even the most unlikely retailers – for who would have said it would be the Co-op innovating through the use of autonomous robots to deliver top-up grocery shops? – can rethink and transform the way that they sell to an increasingly connected group of consumers.

In our guest comment Romulus Grigoras, chief executive of Onestock, considers how the retail industry can improve its approach to surplus stock.

Image courtesy of the Co-op

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