In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we hear from retailers from different sectors, all focused on enabling their customers to buy in the way that best suits them. The challenge for each is different, since shoppers themselves have different shopping habits, and they may then want to buy clothing, homewares, groceries and general merchandise in a variety of ways. Giving those shoppers ways that suit them as individuals has proven key to success – and what’s common to many of the traders that we report on today is a focus on smaller stores in central locations, allied to mobile-led digital strategies that give the end shopper more convenient ways to buy. It’s an approach that appears to be boosting sales and profits, for many retailers, at the same time.
Oasis, for example, is opening local stores in market towns while investing in digital. It’s seen sales and profits grow, led by ecommerce, which now accounts for 30% of all Oasis Warehouse Group sales. Ikea is opening smaller stores in city centres and investing in home delivery, while improving its mobile app. DFS has innovated to improve its online and in-store customer experience over the last year. Sainsbury’s is bringing Argos into its supermarkets, and also opening more than 100 convenience stores, while digitising its Nectar customer loyalty scheme in order to make more personalised offers to customers. That’s a theme that Ros Lawler of Pai Cosmetics discusses further in today’s IRC 2019 interview, in which she considers how brands are finding new ways to talk to their customers.
And from our European coverage we have news of how online marketplace Zalando is popping up in Madrid with a virtual fitting room, and how Spanish department store El Corte Inglés is helping shoppers to search for products via their smartphones.
Today’s guest comment comes from Michael Poyser of Ecrebo, who asks whether Black Friday is a one-off wonder – or integral to sales.