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EDITORIAL Will 2020 be the year of sustainable online and multichannel retailing?

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Sustainable retail is the theme of today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, where we’re reporting as Asda trials sustainable ways of selling food in-store. It wants to find out what – from refill stations to plastic-free flowers –will work both for its customers and for the brands that it has partnered with on the project. It’s an interesting move from one of the UK’s top four grocers and one that could help put sustainable ways of shopping firmly into the mass market. That retailers need to do so is increasingly accepted, and sustainability is the theme of the latest in our series of 2020 predictions. 

It may also be a canny move at a time when it seems shoppers may be pulling back from grocery spending, according to the latest ONS retail sales results, which show the biggest ever year-on-year fall in online grocery spending in December. This aside, there’s now a distinct market of shoppers who aspire to avoid single use plastics, and catering for this group could well bring new customers to Asda. So far, while there are a number of zero waste shops in the UK’s cities and towns, the UK’s supermarkets are still very much at the trialling stage, with a Waitrose in Oxford and now an Asda in Leeds testing ideas. The market is wide open and it seems a great time to win followers for new – and necessary – ways of doing things.

We report as The Works pauses store openings in order to boost sales across its existing shops and online, and we have the latest updates on peak trading, from Very’s work on personalised customer experiences to news from N Brown Group and Moss Bros. From our European coverage, we also report as Amazon opens its Netherlands marketplace to sellers. 

Today’s guest comment comes from Assaf Feldman of Riskified, who considers how retailers can deal with the impact of serial returners – and fraudsters. 

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