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EDITORIAL How customer demand is reshaping the high street – and the way that retailers and brands sell

Image: InternetRetailing Media/Paul Skeldon

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as the proportion of British retail sales taking place online falls to a quarter. That’s the lowest level since March 2020 – when 22.3% of sales were online. In between, trading restrictions put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic drove online to account for more than a third of sales, at one point. Now, it seems, shoppers are spending more, but doing more of their spending in-store. That’s particularly the case in categories such as homewares – but much less the case when buying clothing and footwear, which it seems shoppers are more than happy to buy online. 

But if the latest figures suggest shoppers returned to stores in January, that’s not always the case for the individual retailers that are now restructuring their businesses in the light of their own experiences within their sector or category. We report today as homewares retailer Wilko and fashion retailer New Look cut back on jobs that serve their stores, at a time when more of their customers are shopping online. But discount supermarket Aldi is hiring as it adds new stores to its estate to meet customer demand. 

It’s with that in mind that today we’re reporting as retailers and brands experiment with different ways of improving their customers’ experience both online and offline. White Stuff is using technology from Akeneo in order to improve that experience via consistent product information both on its own website and on third-party websites. Armani beauty, meanwhile, is looking to simplify the in-person experience as it tests checkout-free payments based on RFID technology to trial a more convenient service for customers. We also cover new research into how subscriptions are developing as the cost of living rises.

In today’s guest comment, Lynn Marks of Imperva identifies some key cybersecurity threats that retailers should be aware of.

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