A number of announcements this week have further illustrated how truly multi-channel the retail sector is becoming.
- Selfridges have announced they are set to open a drive-thru click-and-collect service at its London flagship store. The department store is going to adapt a forecourt space off the side of its Oxford Street site so that customers can collect products ordered online without having to leave their cars. Personally speaking, I doubt I will use the scheme, which launches next year, for a while as I don’t have a car in London. However, this model would interest a consumer like me when pottering around in my Mother’s red KA in Oxfordshire. Thus, I can definitely see this type of retail development expanding quickly out of the Central London market.
- Pure-play retailer Littlewoods is claiming to have become the first retailer to commercialise Facebook. Littlewoods will be the first brand to use SeeItShopIt, a tool created by digital agency Isobar. Facebook users will be able browse through brand collections, share individual items and directly purchase through SeeItShopIt. The increasing number of adverts on Facebook recently have become a frustration, but given that the service is free and one of the most used websites in the world, no one can blame the owners or retailers from attempting to benefit from it.
- Marks & Spencer has introduced contactless payment to 644 UK shops following a 25-store trial in London last year. Although, I am yet to use the system, a number of my friends have benefitted from the ease of touching your smartphone on the paypoint. Marks & Spencer now claims that it is “the UK’s leading contactless retailer” and processes over 230,000 contactless transactions per week.
- Frozen food & grocery retailer Iceland has declared that it will be testing an online shopping service nearly ten years after abandoning the offer, as it looks to widen its opportunity amid rising competition.
- It has also been announced by catalogue chain Argos, that they have returned to profits growth today after an “encouraging” year in which more than half its sales were generated online. A digital push helped Argos deliver a 6% increase in underlying operating profits to £100.3 million, in sharp contrast to the near 60% plunge the previous year.
- Additionally, ASOS reported a double-digit hike in profits this week, as the online fashion retailer said it remains optimistic about reaching a £1 billion sales target.
As Jones Lang LaSalle have discussed in their collaborative report with the BCSC, The Rise and Rise of Multi-Channel Retailing, it is vital that retailers embrace new technology. Those retailers that do and are clearly implementing a fully integrated, multi-channel strategy are and will continue to lead from the front.