Understanding how shoppers want to buy is vital
This week, retailers from John Lewis, M&S and The Co-op to Morrisons and Dunelm showed how they are changing the way they sell in response to customer behaviour.
Morrisons is putting the emphasis on a broad range of sales channels
as it expands its online operation but says it’s well on its way to turning over £1bn a year from wholesale, including its partnership with Amazon. In doing so, the supermarket recognises that shoppers who want to buy its products may want to buy them in a way that other retailers make possible.
These approaches all reflect the importance to retailers of understanding how customers want to buy. Adding functionality that shoppers don’t want may prove an expensive white elephant. On the other hand, failing to deploy the approaches that they do want could be equally expensive. Certainly, John Lewis is planning to invest up to £500m a year in technology, even if that comes at the expense of short-term profits - as seen in the first half of its financial year, when its top-line profits were 99% down on the same time last year. That said, adapting to customer demand is also about delivering profitability over the long-term. But at a time of what John Lewis’ Charlie Mayfield has dubbed a "generational change" in the way we shop, it’s perhaps inevitable that profits will be hit in the short term. That’s likely to continue to reshape the retail landscape over coming years.
Today’s guest comment comes from Charlie Pool of Stowga
, who considers the role distributed warehousing can play in the future supply chain.
Find out more about the first two episodes of InternetRetailing’s RetailCraft podcasts featuring Heals and the Rug Company.
RetailCraft 01 - David Kohn of Heals - “probably the most sceptical man in the industry”? Surely not!
RetailCraft 02 - Sarah Stagg of The Rug Company and the 2018 IREU Top500
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