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EDITORIAL How IRUK Top500 retailers responded to customer demand this Christmas

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re considering what retailers’ Christmas updates from the early part of this week say about how shoppers bought during this year’s peak trading – and what that might mean for how they shop in the future. 

Two themes that dominated our pre-Christmas reporting come through loud and clear in our This Week in Peak coverage. Shoppers were buying online, as shown most clearly by Joules and by Dunelm, and they were looking for discounts, as seen in Footasylum’s figures, in Morrisons’ strategy of competing on price, and in Nielsen’s analysis of grocery trading over Christmas. But supplying those discounts could come at a cost, as seen at Footasylum, with its warning that it’s now unlikely to meet its full-year profit forecasts. The retailer’s dilemma this Christmas was whether to clear stock at a potential hit to profits, or whether to hold out longer for full price sales, with the risk of unsold stock. Different retailers made different decisions, and we’ll be looking with interest over coming days and weeks to find out what the results of those decisions were.

In today’s newsletter we’re considering the customer experience, both in our predictions for 2019, and in our five practical approaches to the customer piece. There’s food for thought in both, as traders consider how they’ll best meet customers’ needs even as they appear to be moving their buying further online, and in an uncertain economy in which their own spending may well be challenged. 

We also look at how Alibaba is approaching the customer experience through its Hema stores that promise to bring digital into every aspect of food retailing – and at how European retailers are responding. 

Today’s guest comment comes from Bob Barltrop of SWRnewstar, who considers the importance for retailers selling across all channels of considering the impact of plastic waste.

Image: Fotolia

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