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EDITORIAL Waitrose, Levi Strauss, Primark, the Co-op and the BRC on how the post-pandemic shopper wants to buy

Image: Shutterstock/Wayhome Studio

In today’s InternetRetailing we consider what the latest news from Levi Strauss, Primark, the Co-op and the BRC say about how shoppers are now buying, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated trading restrictions.

Deliveroo and Waitrose are expanding their fast delivery partnership to 70 new stores, including 30 new towns and cities, as they expand the service further across the UK. Essentially, this is a service that came out of the pandemic, when demand for online shopping rose and retailers explored new ways to satisfy that demand. It’s interesting to note in today’s story that a third of Waitrose’s Deliveroo shoppers had never previously bought from the supermarket before.

Shoppers are continuing their gradual return to UK stores as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted in England and Northern Ireland, according to the latest footfall figures for March 2022. We’ll now expect to see online sales continue their slow decline as ecommerce gradually releases its lockdown grip on retail when those figures are out later this month. It’s likely, however, that in the longer term ecommerce will continue to be higher than pre-pandemic, and in-store sales will continue to be lower. What’s important is that both work together to enable customers to buy in their preferred way.

Primark shows with the launch of a new non-transactional website how it sees the role of e-commerce in retail today. By making its site more easily found – through digital marketing – and explored – through new navigation and search and through improved product information and images – it aims to make it more visible to online browsers. By showing local in-store availability it aims to attract new shoppers into its stores. Intriguingly, the retailer says that by keeping the design modular it will be easier to update in the future. It’s easy to see how the site is many steps closer to an ecommerce site, even if it is not yet transactional. We’ll watch with interest if Primark eventually completes its transition to ecommerce.

In today’s guest comment, Achille Traore of White Label Loyalty investigates how to build brand loyalty in the metaverse. That will mean, he says, creating purchasing journeys that are better than the in-store experience today.

We’re reporting as the Co-op more than doubles its full-year online grocery sales in a year that it has struck partnerships with a variety of delivery partners, from Amazon to Deliveroo and Starship Technologies. The grocery and convenience store business is now focused on finding alternative routes ways of getting its goods to shoppers – from rapid delivery to vending machines and micro-stores – with a focus on capital-light investment. The approach came into its own during the pandemic – but how will it progress as shoppers move on?

Levi Strauss’ chief executive Chip Bergh has spoken of the importance of digital technologies – beyond simple ecommerce – and sustainability in its business, and predicted that manufacturers would start to produce their goods nearer to the markets in which they are sold once more. This, he says, speaking to World Retail Congress, makes sense both in the light of continuing supply chain issues – also cited by the Co-op – and in order to become more sustainable.

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