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EDITORIAL Leading retailers and brands from Hotel Chocolat to Philips on strategies in a challenging market, plus IRC 2018

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As shoppers change the way they buy, how are retailers and brands changing their response?
As shoppers change the way they buy, how are retailers and brands changing their response?
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Leading retailers and brands from Hotel Chocolat to Philips on strategies in a challenging market, plus IRC 2018

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as the latest BRC figures suggest online sales growth slowed in September, and both store and overall retail sales fell, following an early summer in which warm weather and football helped to lift sales in some categories - but dented them in others. That’s a trend reflected in Quiz’s recent profits warning: the retailer said that footfall in its stores was down in September, while spending on its brand via third-party websites flattened in the first six months of its financial year. It seems that shoppers are less keen to spend, a feeling that is perhaps exacerbated by continuing uncertainty around Brexit.

 

Against this background we take a look at some of the retail strategies that leading IRUK Top500 retailers are putting to work to win business in a time of change – and challenge. Customers are changing the way they buy, and that’s challenging established ways of selling. For some brands and retailers it’s about making it easier for shoppers to cut the immediate cost of buying through a subscription model: we take a look at what Philips and Husqvarna are doing here.

 

For others it’s about appealing to shoppers’ values and a sense of doing the right thing: here, John Lewis and Ikea are focusing on sustainability as they work to create more environmentally-sensitive strategies for their businesses.

 

For Angus Thirlwell of Hotel Chocolat, it’s about the ways that stores and online work together to help lift sales of chocolate, a product that Thirlwell says was not an obvious choice to sell over the internet.

 

Meanwhile, The Kooples share insights on handling international customer enquiries, while today’s guest comment comes from Phil Crossley of Parseq on automation and the retail agent of the future.

 

There’ll be many more examples of retail strategies shared at this week’s InternetRetailing Conference, where keynote speakers include Derek Harding of Shop Direct Group, Julian Callede of Made.com, and Jonathan Wall of Missguided. Re:Generate is the theme of this year’s conference which is changing venue this year to the Business Design Centre in London’s Islington. After an opening keynote plenary session, four tracks will focus on international and innovation, delivery and operations, customer and engagement and beyond channels. There’ll also be round tables, panel discussions and workshops will be part of a format that aims to move beyond the powerpoint presentation in order to promote discussions. Find out more about the event and the agenda here.

 

Image: Fotolia

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