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EDITORIAL How Top500 retailers are evolving their online – and offline – strategies for post-pandemic retail

Shopping on mobile outside the home is leading ecommerce (Image: Shutterstock)

Shopping on mobile outside the home is leading ecommerce (Image: Shutterstock)

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as Top500 retailers take their focus on digital to a new level in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. 

Hotter Shoes is using AR to enable shoppers to use their smartphone to find the shoes that best fit them in a move that is, it says, driven by the shift online during lockdown. The retail brand is using its 3D digital measuring technology in-store as well. 

Pureplay Victorian Plumbing is to float on the AIM market as it pursues a near-term strategy of improving its supply chain and customer experience, and a long-term strategy of expanding both across product categories and into new European markets. It says it has benefited as more bathrooms customers are now buying online since the pandemic emerged. 

But while shoppers do want to buy online, and will most probably continue to do so more than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s evidence of a strong appetite to shop in-store. The number of people visiting shops rose strongly over the sunny bank holiday weekend compared both to the previous week, according to data from both Springboard and the New West End Company, and the previous year. However, footfall still lags well behind the level it was at the same time in 2019. 

Waitrose is prioritising sustainability as it adds more unpackaged products to its range – in response to growing customer demand, in-store. At the same time, it’s giving shoppers a reason to come in-store and buy, rather than ordering online. 

The effect of lockdown on shops is highlighted in the BRC’s call for the government to take action as the day of rent reckoning approaches for multichannel retailers. Thousands of shops could be at risk when landlords are able once more to take legal action in relation to rents unpaid during the pandemic and associated lockdowns. 

In today’s guest comment, Russell Loarridge of ReachFive considers the future of retailing – and what part the pureplay retailer will have in that. 

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