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On the importance of a customer-focused strategy as shoppers move online – and fear GDPR

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, there’s evidence of a further shift towards ecommerce as shoppers stayed in during a rainy January and bought online instead, according to IMRG figures. It’s perhaps unsurprising that customers would do that – just as it’s unsurprising that they come out to buy from shops, where most of retail sales still take place, when the weather improves. The trick is to balance the two so that retailers can give customers the service that they want when they want it. A sudden downpour can see online sales spike, but a heatwave may do the opposite. The problem is, it’s hard to predict changes in behaviour. Rather, focusing on the choices that customers want available seems a more reliable way to retail success in the 21st century.

That’s what Dunelm says it’s doing in half-year results out today. It says that in order to grow its annual sales to £2bn, with up to 40% online, it needs to double the quality of its customer service. Right now, it’s seeing very healthy sales growth in what it says is a “largely static” homewares market and it’s doing that by working towards creating the seamless customer journey that enables shoppers to buy in the way that they want on any given day. It’s a model that recognises that customers change their minds about how they want to buy from one purchase to the next, whether because of the weather or for other reasons that are still less easy to feast.

We also report on another key issue for retailers in coming weeks and months: the GDPR deadline is now less than 100 days a way, and it seems that many Britons will be exercising their new found right to be forgotten, a new report claims. A customer-focused approach to GDPR would see a strategy that ensured customers didn’t want to be forgotten: by giving them control of the messages they receive, it’s likely that retailers can achieve a database of opted in customers that want to hear from them.

Today’s guest comment comes from Brett Lawrence of Inviqa, who outlines some key thinking points for brands as they move to sell direct to consumers.

Our IRX preview comes in the form of an interview with B2B expert Ricardo Davila.

Finally, we report on how Tesco’s UK chief executive Matt Davies is to move to chair the N Brown Group.


Find out more about upcoming InternetRetailing webinars and register for free on the InternetRetailing webinar page. You can also catch up with past webinars on the page: recent sessions have come from IBM Watson on using AI to improve the customer experience, and from SmartFocus and The Entertainer on using social to reach digital customers.

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