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EDITORIAL How The Works and the Co-op are getting closer to customers at a time of squeezed spending

Image: Adobe Stock

Image: Adobe Stock

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on how retailers from the Co-op to The Works continue to find new ways to get close to shoppers at a time when spending is becoming more squeezed by rising inflation.

The latest ONS retail sales figures suggest that in April shoppers spent more money than in March and the previous year – to buy fewer goods. At the same time, they moved online, again spending more than in March – but 11% less than in partly locked down April 2021. Retailers are now competing for spending. In doing so they are opting to be where shoppers are, proving the most convenient service they can through digital technology.

We report on how The Works is using social media to get close to its customers – and selling books that are trending on TikTok’s Book Tok as it looks to win shoppers’ attention at a time when it believes consumer demand is now being hit.

The Co-op, meanwhile, aims to expand its quick commerce channel by 50% this year, and reach online sales of £300m. In doing so, it’s employing channels that vary enormously in technological sophistication. It’s both using robots, and delivering on foot.

Royal Mail also says it’s seeing demand for online services expand. It now says there’s a strong case for seven day a week parcel deliveries, although it doesn’t see the same level of demand for letter post. It’s working with 75 retailers to offer Sunday deliveries, and is now expanding that service more widely.

In today’s guest comment, Mark Elwood of Huboo considered how ecommerce retailers can combat falling consumer spending.

And the wait is now on to see whether the government will go ahead with an online sales tax, now that consultation has ended after 12 weeks. It is not yet clear when any announcement will be made.

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