EDITORIAL M&S, DFS, WHSmith and Shoe Zone on the rise and rise of digital retailing

Image: Fotolia

Image: Fotolia

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as the BRC says ecommerce took its largest slice yet of UK retail sales in February, as locked down shoppers shifted their purchases still further online at a time when non-essential stores remained closed. But the size of the total cake remained pretty similar to that of a year earlier, with overall sales up by just 1%. 

Today we’re reporting on how Top500 retailers from a range of categories are responding to that continuing online shift. At M&S, the move online – and the growing international demand on its UK ecommerce website – has prompted it to boost its international online presence to 100 markets, via 46 ecommerce websites. 

DFS says it’s working against a background in which most shoppers now start their sofa buying journeys online, with a small minority now willing to complete them online as well. The vast majority, however, use both ecommerce and in-store visits to choose the right model for them. DFS is using its sheer scale to provide online resources including what it says is the world’s largest collection of 3D sofa images in augmented reality technology to help shoppers visualise how each model would look in their home. 

Domino’s Pizza, meanwhile, says that 94% of its sales are now placed online as home food delivery has grown during the lockdown. It’s now looking to boost collections as well as deliveries.  It’s against that background of online food demand that delivery company Deliveroo expanded its customer base to the grocery market during the pandemic, and is now planning a stockmarket flotation

WHSmith says online is growing at record levels – but that its autumn and winter sales are still running at a fraction of a year earlier. Shoe Zone is also seeing fast online growth – but it’s closing stores in locations including towns that it says are now unviable for its business.  

In today’s guest comment, Nate Holmes of Widen considers how retailers can tackle omnichannel marketing in a year – so far – of falling footfall. 

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