In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as Mothercare and Hotel Chocolat both shift their business models further towards becoming international brands rather than purely UK retailers. Mothercare, which has sold internationally for years, has reluctantly taken the approach of closing its UK shops and installing Boots as its exclusive UK franchisee. Now it’s simply a question of completing the formalities into its transformation from retailer to brand.
It’s early days for Hotel Chocolat, by contrast, as it lifts its gaze from the UK retail market – where it now operates 125 shops – to develop new Japanese and US markets, while planning in 2020 to speed up supply chain transformation and build the structures necessary for it work as an international multichannel supplier rather than simply a UK retailer.
Today we also report as Gear4Music shows the progress it has made with developing its infrastructure over the last year and how that has supported this year’s peak trading. Asos, meanwhile, invested in discounting, with some of the most dramatic peak trading discounts available on Black Friday. It says the move has paid off, as its sales rose by 20% in its latest quarter.
In other news, we’re reporting on the latest findings from the Institute of Customer Service. The good news is that there are six retailers in the top 10 of its January 2020 UK Customer Satisfaction Index, but the bad news is that customer satisfaction is generally going down. One interesting finding was that shoppers rate service much more highly when they are buying through their preferred sales channel. Yet another reason to enable shoppers to buy online and in-store, and that those channels work together seamlessly. Today we’re also reporting as HMV owner Doug Putnam buys a US business, and as Tesco does away with the multipack.
What can retailers do to improve their own customer service and experience? In a timely guest comment, Chris Labrey of Econocom argues that technology is the enabler of an improved customer experience – but the costs can be daunting. He considers how retailers can invest without busting the budget.
For us in the West, New Year feels like a distant memory. But, while we’re in the midst of ‘Dry Veganuary’, celebrations in China are just about to kick off, says Myles Dawson of Adyen. In today’s guest analysis piece, he has advice on how to win customers from shoppers during Chinese New Year – and beyond.