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EDITORIAL The new rules of retail

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on the new rules of retail in the time of coronavirus – and how retailers are responding to them. We’re reporting in our rolling bulletin on how customer behaviour is changing and how retailers are responding to that change. Since yesterday we’ve chronicled as stores have started to close their doors, and how footfall fell, and how non-essential stores are now closing completely and are now closing completely under orders from Government, except for essential retailers.  We examine what the new rules are for those retailers as they look to move fast to ensure they operate safely while still serving the customers that rely on them. We look at the initial reaction of RXUK Elite retailer Dunelm to coronavirus. 

This is the week when many of the UK’s shops shut and retailers will now be looking towards online as they hope to make up some of the shortfall in their sales. That won’t be easy, as some shoppers, uncertain about how their jobs and their household economics will hold up under pressure, may well hold off non-essential purchases. Other households, more confident about the future but largely housebound in the short term, will look to buy many more goods online. Many products remain essential and ensuring they can get to the people that need them – who may not previously have shopped online – will be important. We’ll be reporting as retailers work out how to solve these new issues in the coming days, weeks and months. 

In a week in which the context of retail has entirely changed, our newsletter stories are focused on Covid-19. As time passes and we become accustomed to a new reality we’ll aim to shift the balance and pay more attention in future newsletters to how retailers are retooling their business to serve customers in different situations, and on what is working for retailers as they look to maintain and grow their businesses in unprecedented times.

Thinking ahead to those times in which we return to a more normal experience, today’s guest comment comes from Freek Bijl of Valtech who considers how connected consumer experiences can live up to the hype.

Image: Fotolia

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