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EDITORIAL How Hotel Chocolat, THG, Matalan and Aldi are serving customers online and in-store

Aldi is bringing online into the store with its Shop&Go app. Image courtesy of Aldi

We’re reporting in today’s InternetRetailing newsletter as retailers report on what worked for their online and multichannel customers over the Christmas period.

For Hotel Chocolat, it was about loyalty. Whether shoppers joined its loyalty club or signed up for subscriptions, both were about keeping customers satisfied, while a multichannel business model meant they could buy in the way that was most convenient for them.

For THG, it was about investing in faster delivery, later order times, achieved through improved infrastructure and through automation. The brand business invested about a billion pounds in infrastructure, technology and acquisitions, and succeeded in boosting full-year sales to record levels. We’ll have to wait for full-year figures to see how profitable that was this year; the company seems confident it will boost its profitability longer-term.

For Matalan, it was about giving customers the styles they wanted to buy. Its womenswear range was snapped up – as long as it was available in-store. The retailer says a strong sales rise came despite supply chain, logistics and labour challenges.

Now Aldi is entering the New Year with the launch of another experiment – its checkout-free store. Shoppers will use Aldi’s Shop&Go app to manage the entire experience, which Scandit’s Samuel Mueller says effectively turns the store into another online format.

No doubt we’ll see new ways of serving customers emerge this year. The focus of today’s Predictions 2022 piece is on what effect Covid-19 will have on online and multichannel retail in 2022 – after two years in which the pandemic has vastly accelerated the shift online.

Elsewhere, we report as Amazon says it will accept Visa credit cards after all from Wednesday, while it continues to work with the credit card provider to mitigate the costs it previously said were too high. Industry figures think the fact that so many customers have their regular payments to Amazon on Visa may have proved a determining factor in the change of heart.

And in today’s guest comment, Laura Morroll of BearingPoint suggests the new Natasha’s Law – requiring full information on food ingredients – will remind online and multichannel retailers of the importance of getting knowledge management right.

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