Close this search box.

EDITORIAL How M&S, Harrods and Ocado are using technology to get close to customers – who are resolving to cut back this Black Friday

Image: Adobe Stock

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as UK retailers innovate to get close to their customers at a time of straitened spending. 

For shoppers will spend close to half, on average, this Black Friday compared to what they spent last year, as the cost of living crisis and inflation collide, new research from Wunderman Thompson Commerce suggests. That said, many of those who do spend will be looking on marketplaces and may also go to social media sites for inspiration, to find and to buy products. 

Retailers of all sizes are trading through the same difficult economy. Falling consumer confidence and rising costs are among the factors that has caused homewares specialist Made to call in the administrators, as announced this morning. Shares in the digital-first business have been suspended. 

Marks & Spencer is now using a virtual influencer to promote its must buy products on channels including Instagram. Mira joins a 13-strong team of ‘insider influencers’ at the high street retailer and represents, says M&S a first for a UK high street retailer – bringing the ability to react quickly to trends and to connect with a younger audience. 

Harrods has reported a return to profit after a year in which it used digital to adapt to the changing way shoppers wanted to buy during the Covid-19 pandemic, while also investing in physical retail.  The luxury department store adopted tools such as virtual personal shopping in order to continue to serve loyal customers during and after lockdowns.

Online retailer and technology business Ocado is taking its robotic ecommerce solutions to South Korea through a partnership with multichannel Lotte Shopping that will see the UK retail and technology business deploy multi-storey robotic customer fulfilment centres for the first time. The partnership will start in 2024, and between 2025 and 2028 the two are set to open six customer fulfilment centres. 

In today’s guest comment Richard Townsend of Circus Street argues that ecommerce companies should nurture new skills within their business to ensure they remain competitive in an economic downturn

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on