Close this search box.

EDITORIAL From marketplaces to stores and delivery: how retailers are reevaluating the customer experience

Just as offline markets aim to offer shoppers more choice, so too do online marketplaces. Image: Goodlux/Shutterstock

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on aspects of the customer experience from marketplaces to delivery and stores.

Retailers and brands are working to reach customers through the channels that best suit them, and are developing a growing range of methods to do that. B&Q is using its own marketplace, which parent company Kingfisher Group says accounted for 8% of B&Q’s online sales in August. The DIY company is also using its stores as digital hub for online deliveries, and is now trialling click and collect lockers. Kingfisher will go on from B&Q to launch marketplaces for its DIY businesses in other parts of Europe.

Meanwhile, Hotter owner Unbound sees its own marketplace – the Unbound platform – as a highly targeted way of reaching its core demographic of women aged 55 and over. It’s working with a growing range of brands to sell products that are relevant to what it sees as an underserved market and is putting resources into getting to know. It’s too soon yet to say how the venture will fare, but the costs of setting up the platform resulted in a first-half loss for Unbound Group, although sales at its core footwear brand Hotter grew across sales channels.

Marketplaces are one of the emerging channels that the ChannelX World conference will address in October. In today’s newsletter we feature an interview with eBay UK general manager Murray Lambell. Lambell spoke to Chris Dawson of InternetRetailing sister title ChannelX (formerly Tamebay) about how the effect the economic challenges are having on small businesses and how shopper habits are changing. The interview comes ahead of Murray Lambell’s appearance as keynote speaker at the first ChannelX World, a conference with a focus on emerging channels from marketplaces to social media, which is to be held in London on October 13. In the keynote session he’ll be looking at how retail – and customer buying habits – have changed.

This work to develop new digital channels comes as the latest figures suggest that online sales fell in August, continuing an uninterrupted 17-month decline in ecommerce the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which pushed shoppers online, according to the latest IMRG/Capgemini figures. We can see that decline play out in today’s reporting on half-year figures from both Kingfisher Group and Unbound Group. It comes both as shoppers return to shops, but also as the inflation and energy price-driven cost-of-living crisis continues, hitting the overall level of sales.

Today we’re also reporting as Mike Ashley prepares to stand down from the Frasers Group that he founded 40 years ago as Sports Direct before taking it upmarket into the brand-friendly world of department stores and high street expansion via an elevation strategy and multichannel retailing.

Customers are now noticing delivery delays as a result of issues from the supply chain to staff shortages, says Sendcloud. Its survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers finds that 41% say their last delivery was late, while 71% report a negative delivery experience in the previous three months.

Stores remain central to the customer experience, says Ben Mercier, customer director at Weird Fish, both at the clothing retail brand and for other multicJapan’s ecommerce market will grow by 6.9% this year to $194.3bnhannel retailers. Despite recent news of declines in both store footfall and consumer confidence, the clothing retail brand says stores remain at the heart of its business as a place for shoppers to touch and feel goods for themselves.

Japan’s ecommerce market will grow by 6.9% this year to JPY22.4 trillion ($194.3bn), new Global Data analysis suggests. That is likely to mean the world’s four ecommerce market leaders stay unchanged from last year, with Japan in fourth place after China, the US, and the UK, Global Data research suggests.

In today’s guest comment, Nick Tuzenko of Accel Club argues that recently emerged Amazon aggregators are helping to fix ecommerce’s overlooked climate agenda

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on