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EDITORIAL How retailers from Burberry and Ted Baker to WHSmith and The Works are balancing online and stores; 11.11 breaks records

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In today’s InternetRetailing we’re reporting on the different strategies that retailers from Burberry and Ted Baker to WHSmith and The Works are taking as they adjust to the changing way that shoppers now want to buy. That means balancing online and stores to serve customers who want the convenience of buying online alongside the ability to collect from and return items to stores, when needed. 

Burberry is focusing on full-price sales and on finding new ways to engage with customers, from in-game NFTs through to augmented reality on TikTok – and in-store. The luxury brand is now opening and refurbishing flagship stores that bring digital further into store. 

Ted Baker, meanwhile, is investing further in ecommerce after the pandemic pushed its business further towards digital. A new website is now scheduled to launch early next year. At the same time the retailer is downsizing its physical presence, having closed a net six shops in the first half of the year as well as more than 20 concessions within branches of House of Fraser. 

WHSmith has also focused on its online business over its last financial year, putting work into its website and its fulfilment capacity while building its social media following. It says its online sales have grown strongly as a result. Now, however, it is investing in its InMotion technology brand for which it is opening stores at airports, having closed less profitable high street stores, ahead of a hoped for resurgence in travel retailing.

The Works says its strategy of growth through digital rather than through new stores is working for it. Its sales now outpace its pre-pandemic performance, with its online business now twice the size it was pre-pandemic – while sales are also growing in-store as well. 

In today’s Peak 2021 coverage we have the spending figures as the 11.11 – Singles Day – shopping festival, now becoming the first peak shopping event in the run-up to Christmas – wraps up, and we consider how Alibaba Group prepared for this huge event, from sustainable approaches to shopping through to stockpiling in order to ensure availability. 

In today’s guest comment, Derek O’Carroll of Brightpearl asks whether digital neighbourhoods are the future for commerce.

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