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EDITORIAL What’s working in retail as online spending slows?

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re taking stock of the context in which retail is taking place, and looking at how two top-performing retailers are achieving that success. The secret, it seems, is about focusing on the customer and their shopping experience, wherever they are, or however they shop. 
That’s certainly what both Asos, Amazon and BrandAlley are doing, as they invest in the customer experience, and customer engagement. Amazon sets out its priorities in its guiding principles: first comes customer obsession, rather than competitor obsession, followed by innovation. These two both come to the fore in the overnight news that the retailer is creating the capacity to add what it says will be up to 1,000 ’Silicon Valley jobs’
The approach of customer obsession, backed with large amounts of investment, has helped it to become the first port of call for shoppers looking for products, according to new inRiver research
Customer-centricity is the theme of our interview with BrandAlley’s Alex Simon, who says that focusing on every step of the customer journey, and putting customers at the heart of decision making has helped the company to grow fast.
Understanding customers and what they want is also a priority for Asos, posted full-year sales and profits up by more than 20% in its latest financial year. These figures are all the more remarkable for the backdrop against which they come. 
In today’s newsletter, we look back to how online retail – and retail across all channels – performed in September, and ahead to consider how the shape of Christmas spending is changing. Shoppers held back on spending online in September, this week’s figures suggest – but are they holding on for discounts in the run-up to Christmas? We take a look at the evidence. One interesting point to come out of IMRG figures out this week is the slower growth in spending via smartphones, while tablet sales fell by more than a fifth in September. 
We also feature research that considers how putting a sense of experience into retail may help to boost sales – along with a case study of how The Perfume Shop is doing just that. 
Today’s guest comment comes from Graham Cooke of Qubit, who argues that AI-powered personalisation is the future for retail. 
Image: Fotolia

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