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EDITORIAL How Debenhams, eBay and Superdry are exploring new ways to link ecommerce and stores

We’re reporting today on an interesting experiment from eBay which has opened its first high street pop-up shop, featuring 40 local businesses, in order to explore how stores and online can work together in practice. The move is part of eBay’s Retail Revival programme; now halfway through its year-long experiment in taking offline retailers online it is experimenting with a move in the opposite direction.

Debenhams is another retailer exploring ways that online and the store can work together as it wins approval for a CVA plan that will see some stores close as it moves its focus towards mobile and social. These channels will act as a bridge between online and in-store, opening up both ends of that bridge to discovery by new customers, who, ifs they then cross the bridge and buy from other parts of the business, are ultimately likely to spend more. 

We’re reporting as Julian Dunkerton sets out his priorities for Superdry, after five weeks back in the driving seat. Improving both ecommerce and stores is central to his priorities. Meanwhile, The Works opens its 500th shop today, taking it halfway towards its ambition to have 1,000 stores – and the expansion seems to be helping it to grow sales via its ecommerce website as more shoppers opt its click and collect services. 

These stories all show retailers finding out if shoppers want to buy from them across channels, at the point that’s most convenient for them. It’s likely that they will find that the store is important to all, though retailers may also find they need fewer stores than they did in the past as they expand their online channels. eBay is examining through its new store, exactly how traffic moves between the channels, and its store may also represent the emergence of new retailers that can, given the opportunity, fill spaces left behind on high streets as they meet needs that other retailers perhaps did not. 

Meanwhile, Morrisons and Ocado have renegotiated their partnership agreement following the Andover fire – it has proved a catalyst to enable Morrisons to explore other digital partnerships and boost its ship from store capabilities while Ocado rebuilds capacity. Today’s guest comment comes from Graham Parker of Gravity Supply Chain, with questions about who controls your supply chain.

Images courtesy of eBay

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