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EDITORIAL How retailers are planning omnichannel strategies as shoppers spend less

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as the latest figures suggest the UK economy failed to grow – and also stayed out of recession – in the final quarter of 2022. Retail and delivery were among the sectors holding the economy back, the latest ONS GDP report suggests

At the same time, Adobe figures suggest that shoppers spent less online than they did a year earlier, and that 12% of the money they did spend was via buy-now-pay-later services as they looked to spread the cost of larger purchases. At the same time there was a greater use of click and collect – possibly as customers looked to avoid delivery charges.

Interestingly, while the ONS finds that GDP is still behind pre-pandemic levels, Adobe finds that online shopping is now almost 40% higher than it was before Covid-19. The longer term trend still seems to be towards shopping online – using the method of fulfilment that proves most convenient in the moment. And it’s to these longer term trends that retailers are looking as they plan their future strategies. 

Today we’re reporting as US sportswear brand Under Armour prepares to open three new stores in the UK, part of a broader strategy towards selling directly to consumers and within the European market. The strategy is informed by the data – EMEA is currently a fast-growth part of the brand’s business. 

Watches of Switzerland credited its omnichannel business model as it reported double digit sales growth in the third quarter of its financial year. The retailer says it benefited as demand for the luxury watches it sells exceeded supply during the period. Growth in-store outstripped online in the latest quarter. Longer-term, though, it’s the omnichannel strategy that is working to connect both channels – and it has invested in expanding its digital services, from its virtual boutique to later cut-off times for next-day delivery.

Meal box retailer HelloFresh, meanwhile, is experimenting with running its own direct deliveries, using its own fleet, in the UK, rather than using third-party couriers. Such an approach follows its strategy in five other markets, and also aims to make its business more sustainable. The result, it says, will be to put customers in control of their own deliveries. 

In today’s guest comment, Mark Zablan of Emplifi considers how retailers can turn to hybrid approaches in order to futureproof their operations

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