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How retailers are investing across channels – reflecting the way that shoppers buy

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we report as the latest ONS figures suggest shoppers took a step back from buying online and hit the shops this January. But, when taken in the light of BRC footfall data earlier this month, it seems that shift may have been short-lived and inspired by in-store January sales. But this does serve to illustrate that shoppers still want to visit stores, if there’s a reason for them to do so. After all, today’s ONS figures also show that 18.8% of January retail sales took place online – implying that around 80% of sales are still made in shops. 

Shoppers want to buy across channels and getting the in-store experience right is as vital as ensuring online deliveries work and testing augmented reality. Today we look at how Kellogg’s has worked with Accenture and Qualcomm Technologies to use VR combined with eye-tracking technology to test where it should place its brands in-store. The results were very encouraging. We stay with virtual – and augmented – reality for today’s guest comment, which comes from Anna Watkins of Verizon Media. 

Dunelm reported this week how it has combined in-store and online to grow its multichannel services. It says that 15.7% of its retail sales were multichannel in the first half of its financial year – up from 11.8% a year earlier. It seems clear that while in-store sales remain important to most of Dunelm’s customers, but those customers also want to use online where it’s most convenient for them, and to combine that channel with the store. 

It’s important, of course, that both channels work and today we also report on how multichannel retailers are finessing their online delivery with news that hiring is now underway for a new M&S/DHL national distribution centre, and that Carrefour Belgium is now offering Sunday deliveries. 

Image: Fotolia

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