EDITORIAL How Covid-19 is driving retail – and retail innovation

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on what retailers are saying about the way their shoppers now want to buy. Asda, Topps Tiles, French Connection and N Brown Group all suggest that sales stayed low during the lockdown. Asda and Aldi are among those now finding new ways to help shoppers buy safely in the way that best suits them.

Asda says its shoppers went online to buy ahead of lockdown – and it’s now trialling a new virtual queuing technology to support social distancing in its stores. Its sales grew in the first quarter of the year but fell in April as fuel demand declined. 

Topps Tiles now expects all of its shops to be open by the end of June. It’s moving back towards opening after having closed all of its shops on March 23. Online sales have risen, but they have not compensated for the loss of business elsewhere. 

French Connection says that its online sales rose sharply as its stores and concessions shut for the March lockdown – but, again, it’s not close to seeing business at normal levels. 

Meanwhile, product sales at N Brown Group, which no longer has stores and sells online and through catalogues, were down by a quarter in the six weeks of lockdown.

Previously store-only grocer Aldi has now taken its second step towards online delivery in recent weeks. It is now using Deliveroo to fulfil small deliveries within 30 minutes. 

In his guest comment today, Zack Sullivan of Future suggests that with online shopping habits now changing so rapidly, retailers need to review their ecommerce strategies to ensure they are catering to evolving consumer needs.

Image courtesy of Deliveroo

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