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Why shops are a vital part of the omnichannel experience

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we have a salutary reminder of the importance of the high street, and other physical stores, to the new convenient, digital-powered way that we shop. Click and collect only works when there are stores, while delivery from the store relies on well, the store. Without shops, quite simply, digital commerce cannot be as convenient as it is undoubtedly becoming. Amazon and both rise, to some extent, to the challenge – but while both have networks of hubs that enable fast delivery, neither provides the showroom experience where shoppers can see products before they buy them. Small wonder that 85% of sales are still made in stores, according to August’s ONS figures. Online sales are growing fast, as we see in the latest IMRG figures, out this week, but as yet they complement, rather than replace, the store in the typical shopper’s worldview.

In our lead story today, suppliers are challenging bricks and mortar retailers to embrace digital in this environment in which convenience and speed are growing ever more important. Their challenge comes as LDC figures suggest shop openings slowed faster than closures in the first half of this year, in the run up to the European Union Referendum.

In today’s newsletter we carry plenty more evidence of the difference that digital makes to the store-based business. Look at Screwfix, and its 24% rise in annual sales, powered by click and collect, mobile – and more stores.

Or French Connection, which today says a quarter of its turnover comes from ecommerce, and half of that from mobile.

Digital is a key mechanism for overseas expansion, as a glance at the line-up for the Growth track at IRC 2016 will show.

Finally, today’s guest comment comes from Kerry Lemos of Retail Pro International, who considers the importance of both stores and online in managing demand at peak times.

Our webinars

We’ve a number of InternetRetailing webinars coming up. On September 22, we hear from Luca Benini, SVP, GM EMEA at Olapic, to get the bottom line on user-generated content and images. He’ll be talking through key research findings on this kind of content in the webinar. What makes UGC relevant for retail is at 2pm on September 22. Click here to find out more and to register for the free event.

The final webinar of the month brings analysis of mobile commerce with Maria Prados, VP global retail, global ecommerce at Worldpay. The face of mobile shopping: how do age and gender affect mobile adoption? is at 2pm on September 29. Click here for more information and to register for the free event.

In October we’ll hear from Ingenico’s Julian Wallis, country manager for the UK and Ireland. He’ll be identifying what retailers must do to accelerate their international ecommerce growth – and do so profitably. Monetising your international reach: six key steps to find ecommerce success overseas is at 2pm on October 18. Click here to find out more and to register for the free event.

Click to visit the Internet Retailing webinars page to catch up on the latest webinars, which are also available to view again on the IRTV channel.

InternetRetailing Events

The 11th InternetRetailing Conference and second eDelivery Conference take place this October. Information and tickets are now available for the two events here.

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