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EDITORIAL How Amazon, Hotel Chocolat and Hammerson are rethinking stores

Image courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

Amazon’s long-awaited opening of a larger grocery store using its ‘just walk away’ approach to queues and payment is here. The retailer has opened a Seattle store where shoppers need only scan an app to enter and then take goods off the shelves – returning them where they are not wanted – and finally leave the store without queuing or paying. That’s all handled automatically via the app. This is the latest example of how digital is influencing the way that shoppers now buy, whether that’s online or in stores. Coming from a business that started online, it’s testament to the continuing importance of shops to today’s customers.  

The importance of both online and stores is underlined in today’s InternetRetailing as we report on how Hotel Chocolat is investing in stores, online, and in mobile. The retailer is adding in seating areas for eating and drinking in some stores while expanding others.  

Hammerson is recognising the importance of rebalancing its retail ownership at a time when shoppers are opting to make more of their purchases online. It sees its future in upmarket shopping centres that are still persuading more customers to visit stores as well as in ’city quarter’ developments that mix housing, work space and retail. 

The way that leading UK retailers have rethought their stores in recent years is explored in a feature taken from the recent RXUK Top500 report. Experiences, in-store technology and in-store collection and returns all feature prominently in this account.

Meanwhile, new research suggests that online shoppers are now less willing to compromise their data and privacy for personalised experiences – although they do still value the convenience that personalisation can bring. 

In today’s guest comment, Susan Vidler of Harris Interactive assesses some of the new tools that are enable real-time analysis to power understanding and agility.

Image courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

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