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EDITORIAL How John Lewis, Waitrose, Amazon, Sainsbury’s, Argos and Pets at Home are adapting their strategies as shoppers shift further online

In today’s InternetRetailing we’re reporting as retailers develop strategies for a future in which more shoppers will buy online. The John Lewis Partnership is now planning for a world in which 20% of Waitrose sales take place online, along with 60% of John Lewis sales. That’s dramatic growth, given that 5% of Waitrose’s sales were online before the Covid-19 pandemic as well 40% of John Lewis’. Shops will still be important in that, but they will open and close in line with customer demand, and they will be home to services that are just not available elsewhere. 

Amazon, meanwhile, says that its online grocery sales have tripled in the second quarter of its financial year, while its net sales are up by 40% and its profits have doubled  – suggesting that the $4bn it spent on becoming Covid-secure was the necessary cost of doing business in a more uncertain trading environment.

Sainsbury’s is looking to mobile to help it manage its stores safely in the age of coronavirus. It’s trialling the ufirst app as it looks to manage queues to get into stores, and it’s expanding its use of the SmartShop Mobile Pay app in order to enable queue-free checkout. 

Argos is trading on its success with mobile commerce as it decides to stop printing its hefty catalogue – although its Christmas gift guide will continue to be available in paper form in stores. And Pets at Home today showed how it had used omnichannel services to adapt to lockdown – and how it’s now planning to invest further in enabling shoppers to buy through the channel that best works for them. 

ScS, meanwhile, has shown the extent to which its orders were affected during and after the Covid-19 lockdown. The good news here is that while orders plummeted by more than 90% during lockdown, they recovered by a very similar amount afterwards. For ScS – and, indeed, for the other retailers that we cover today, the appetite to buy seems to be very much there. What’s changed, for some more than others, is the way that shoppers now want to buy. Those that adapt to make their business relevant, convenient and safe for the customers that buy from it stand to benefit. 

It’s timely then that in today’s guest comment Laura Morroll and David Noll of BearingPoint consider how retailers can – and do – best manage their socially distanced warehouses

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