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EDITORIAL From Ocado to Cos: how Top500 retailers are using technology as they expand

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re considering how retailers are using technology both to reach new customers, and to improve those customers’ experience.

Cos is launching on Tmall and through its own dedicated Chinese website to reach a wider audience in China, where it is also expanding its existing chain of shops. Ocado is using robotics to help it serve the growing number of orders that its customers are making, as well as to underpin the services offered by the retail customers that have signed up to use its technology and logistics in their own businesses. Iceland and The Perfume Shop are both using a reviews platform that deploys machine learning to boost the relevance of the reviews that their customers see on their shopping trip. The ever-more sophisticated technology they are using is helping to make ambitious strategies ever more possible. 

We report as pureplay Boohoo Group appoints a new chief executive, hired from the offline Primark business, to help fashion its next phase of strategic international expansion, and we also have broader analysis of how department stores are faring, in the light of last week’s fall in profits at John Lewis. The John Lewis fall in profits was partly down to its own investment in technology: we look at what factors are affecting other UK department stores. 

Today’s guest comment comes from Paul Hampton of Gemalto on why retailers shouldn’t be intimated by data protection regulations.

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