EDITORIAL How White Stuff, John Lewis, Poundland and Hotter are responding to the shift online

Mobile apps are increasingly where shoppers are shopping (Image: Adobe)

Mobile apps are increasingly where shoppers are shopping (Image: Adobe)

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as retailers respond to the marked shift online that’s been seen during Covid-19 lockdown and that has continued as lockdown measures ease. Many retailers are responding in some or all of the following ways: improving online services, including home delivery and collection, cutting jobs and closing shops.

We report as White Stuff says it is to cut almost 400 jobs as it responds to customers taking their business online faster than ever in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown. The retailer is already 18 months into a transformation scheme aimed at making it a digital-focused business, but says an online shift that had previously been expected to take place over years has happened within months. 

John Lewis, which last week announced consultation on the closure of eight stores putting 1,300 jobs at risk, today extends a partnership with the Co-op in order that will see it almost double its click and collect pick-up points as it looks to make shopping ever more convenient for customers. 

Poundland, meanwhile, says it is opening rather than closing stores and is also to trial its first online delivery service early next year. The retailer comes late to online but managing director Barry Williams says in today’s story that it is specifically adopting technology as part of its response to the coronavirus and as a way to support high streets. 

Hotter, meanwhile, spent some of lockdown working with digital agency Wunderman Thompson Commerce on a new website to help it expand further into Europe and the US and to improve its customers’ experience. The new mobile-first design is already credited with cutting page speeds by almost half and reducing operating costs and came soon enough to benefit as locked down shoppers turned online to buy. 

In today’s guest comment, Wayne Snyder of Blue Yonder considers how AI can help retailers achieve both efficiency and sustainability.

We bring some of these themes together in our round-up of the latest research is saying about the effect Covid-19 is having on UK ecommerce

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