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EDITORIAL From Pets at Home to Topps Tiles: how leading retailers ensure they stay relevant to customers

Image: Fotolia

Image: Fotolia

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as retailers invest in giving their customers the service that’s most relevant to them. “As customers’ needs change, so too does the way we invest to attract them,” says Topps Tiles in its full-year report today. That’s true for a retailer that is selling to customers who both carry out research online and come into the store to see tiles for themselves – but it’s also true for Pets at Home.

In its half-year results, the pet supplies retailer says it’s working to meet all of its customers’ needs – whether that’s buying a product or a service for their pet – and seeing omnichannel sales rise as a result. Having plenty of stores also enables both businesses to stay near – and relevant – to their customers, while selling online means shoppers can buy in ways that suit their lifestyles. And almost all of Topps Tiles’ customers come into the store, while 60% of Pets at Home omnichannel transactions involve an in-store interaction.

Perhaps it’s that sense of staying relevant that lies behind Sports Direct’s decision to change its name to Frasers Group. The retailer will put that decision to a general meeting next month – and says the new moniker will better reflect its multichannel elevation strategy. In other words, retailers selling more expensive branded products need a name that isn’t quite so associated with a historic strategy of ‘stack them high, sell them low’. In an age of low online prices, that strategy is no longer quite so relevant for a retailer that wants to stay profitable. 

Indeed, in today’s Peak 2019 round up we report as Springboard predicts fewer people than last year will head into stores on Black Friday. Instead, they’ll stay at home and buy online for the discounts, if they buy at all. Most retailers, then, will be hoping for a good day – and a good peak trading season – as they look to boost sales that have been falling in recent studies, most recently the CBI’s distribution trades survey, published earlier this week. 

In a timely, and encouraging, guest comment, John Gillan of Criteo argues that while it’s easy to be pessimistic about the state of retailing, looking beyond the headlines reveals an industry in transformation, with innovative online retailers finding new paths to growth. Finally, we look to our European coverage for an update on online trade in France and Spain. 

And don’t miss the latest RetailCraft podcast, in which InternetRetailing editor-in-chief Ian Jindal and Jamie Merrick of Salesforce talk to Zia Zareem-Slade of Fortnum & Mason and Eric Fergusson of Liberty London. 

Image: Fotolia

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