In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting on how retailers are improving the customer experience and fixing structural challenges as they limber up for this year’s peak trading. Indeed, all eyes will soon be on the run up to Christmas as retailers hope for an ecommerce bounceback.
Certainly, that bounceback has yet to emerge in the latest online trading figures. By IMRG and Capgemini’s reckoning, online shoppers spent less on fashion in September than they did at the same time last year, perhaps in the light of the recent focus on sustainability. That meant a fall in online sales in fashion categories for the first time in two years and slowed overall spending growth for the month to 0.6%. However, IMRG has a controversial suggestion: if the UK does agree its exit from the European Union, there could be a Brexit bounce that would fall just at the right time for peak trading as uncertainty and fears of a no deal exit are dispelled, for the time being at least. Today we look ahead to peak trading, and how shoppers, retailers and logistics staff may be approaching the season.
Bonmarché was one high-profile casualty of the falling spending documented by IMRG. It went into administration at the end of last week thanks to what was described as “a sustained period of challenging trading conditions and cashflow pressure”. We report on the context, and as administrators are still trading the business in the hope of finding a buyer.
Today we also report on some of the actions retailers are taking action to ensure their businesses are in a better position. Gear4Music says it has fixed both the warehouse problems and the profit margin issues that meant last year’s profits were held back despite growing sales, and Leading IRUK Top500 retailer Wickes points to improvements in its multichannel experience as one factor behind sales growth that means it is still well-placed to go it alone next year as a standalone company. And we report on two studies that suggest shoppers are already planning how they’ll buy over peak this year – and that digital teams must
In today’s guest comment, Ken Moir of NiceLabel considers one way retailers can deal with customer demand for speed in ecommerce and multichannel retail.