Showing posts with label online. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online. Show all posts

Friday 7 November 2014

Dark-net lessons for Light-net suppliers?

According to a fascinating article in The Economist, business is thriving on the anonymous internet, despite the efforts of law enforcers.

In fact, following last year’s closing down of Silk Road, a drug-dealing site on the “dark net”, dozens of dark-net Amazons and eBays (also known as crypto-markets) have sprung up to fill the void. They are not only proving remarkably resilient but expanding their offerings and growing more sophisticated.

Major players include Agora (weed, powders, pills and guns), whilst Evolution sells stolen credit-card, debit-card and medical information, guns and fake IDs and university diplomas...

These players operate in a different league to ‘normal’ in-house scammers such as those rogue employees of legitimate online providers that substitute rocks for high-end products ordered online.

According to the article, the dark retailers are into consumer satisfaction and repeat-purchase, in that narcotics product quality is higher than street trades, largely thanks to an Amazon-like five-star customer-review system (!).  In a den of thieves, high ratings are sellers’ lifeblood. Reputation is crucial when clients know they cannot fall back on small-claims courts or arbitration….

According to James Martin, author of “Drugs on the Dark Net”, the big markets’ customer service and marketing strategies increasingly resemble those of legitimate retailers. They are quick to apologise for technical glitches. Two-for-one specials, loyalty discounts and promotional campaigns are common (on Smoke Weed Day, say). Other methods borrowed from the corporate world include mission statements, terms and conditions, and money-back guarantees..

The key issue for legitimate suppliers has to be the fact that when even the crooks are raising the standards in consumer-satisfaction, how vital it is that Light-net providers adopt a zero-tolerance approach to their own online offering… 

HT to Anette Rahbek for pointer to the Economist article   

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Superdrug: the super hurdles to super online... Why anything less can’t hack it

Marketing Week reports that A.S. Watson is launching an innovation lab to improve its digital strategy and accelerate ecommerce growth as part of a £37m investment.

Called eLab, the new unit will drive its online strategy globally. The team will comprise of 80 digital specialists based out of mainland China, Hong Kong, Milan and London.

The group-level unit will advise A.S. Watson’s brand teams on strategies related to digital marketing and e-commerce, across all its categories. It will also maintain a platform which will serve as the backbone of its online outlets in the various country markets.

However, before NAMs decide to leap aboard, it might be worth checking out how the company measures against the Amazonian hurdle rates that have to be a basic online requirement:
- 1-Click ordering
- No-quibble returns as easy as ordering
- Delivery: the three-step basics: Anticipatory shipping, Near-home collection, Geographical penetration

All else is detail…

See the three KPIs in practice here

Thursday 31 July 2014

Online delivery charges - a stumbling block or opportunity for mults?

Fully-costed home delivery by the mults costing £20 vs. a £4 delivery-charge raises some issues and opportunities for suppliers and retailers

If traditional retailers want to be online, home delivery has to be part of the package.

Whilst retailers may try to shift some of the cost-burden via promotion of click & collect, there will always be a proportion of consumers that want and can accommodate home delivery. In special cases retailers may be able to charge a commercial rate but in reality they are saddled with a £4 delivery charge.

As usual, the Amazonian elephant in the room is setting online standards.

Amazon somehow appear to be able to cover the cost of delivery – possibly a combination of scale  and geographical density resulting in drivers being able to cover costs via upwards of 100 deliveries/day – albeit apparently losing money on Prime deliveries.

This appears to suggest that high-density geographical/clustered marketing may offer a way forward for the mults, offering scope for tailored promotions by suppliers.

In other words, the mult’s potential online retail opportunity is too big to miss, so any medium term delivery-cost losses will need to be absorbed by the traditional business via route-to-consumer portfolio management in order to remain competitive.

However, in the long term this cross-financing strategy will dilute overall profitability unless it can be demonstrated that scale will eventually result in breakeven on a £4 delivery charge.

Meanwhile, supplier-partners might usefully explore joint-opportunities to introduce home-delivery promotions to help defray some of the real delivery charge…. 

Wednesday 9 July 2014

M&S 'online' results vs. the real KPIs in online retailing

Shareholders will obviously indicate their feelings re overall year-end results via the M&S share price, but M&S online performance deserves some consideration by NAMs.

Essentially, at yesterday's AGM, the biggest problem this time around was M&S’s online channel, through which sales tumbled by  8.1 per cent despite a much-heralded relaunch and claims that customers think it’s really, really great, according to The Independent.

The key issue here is the hurdle-rate represented by Amazon for any retailer hoping to compete online:

First, one has to experience the ease of 1-Click ordering to appreciate how clunky other sites are by comparison. In fact it has become so easy, I have personally had to remove the Amazon link from my desktop, in the vain hope that having to ‘re-search’ the site via Google will cause me to reconsider the extent of my real need each time…

Secondly, given my background in the family Mom ‘n’ Pop store, I had become concerned at family members’ apparent lack of conscience in deliberately over-ordering three dresses from Amazon, trying them on, keeping one and returning two, ‘no problem’…

To test the process I deliberately ordered a book I did not need, and found that the returns facility was easier than 1-Click…  

However, the real clincher for me was Amazon’s distribution process:
In April, I took delivery of a package from Amazon. It was due between 1230 and 1330 on Wednesday, so at 1130 I did a parcel-check to find that my Amazon driver ‘Leo’ was currently four streets away on delivery 30, and still had 33 deliveries to make before reaching me at 1245…

In other words, this is what M&S - and any other retailer - is up against, in attempting to compete with Amazon, especially in clothing…

Anything less will simply become another apology at next year’s AGM…

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Poundland getting serious, a new challenge in NAMland?

pic: City AM
News that the Pound shop leader plans to float in March, on the back of a new line-up of retail talent in the boardroom, and probably raising £700m in the process, means new resourcing issues for suppliers...  In other words, it is time to take the single-price discounters seriously.

Traditionally, whilst our marketing colleagues have little trouble assigning their best and most energetic talent to launching new brands, the allocation of our best NAMs tended to be on the basis of sales turnover, or in a few instances, net profit... Even more seriously, this allocation to the Big Four is often determined by career-minded NAMs that are unwilling to besmirch their CVs with anything less...

After all, 'looking after the poundshops' does not carry quite the same cachet as 'Technically I managed Sainsbury's in the afternoons, but my real job was opening up our top-secret UK multi-channel strategy' in job interviews...

The 17% CAGR of Poundland, and the 26% CAGR of Amazon are equivalent to Walmart's 40-years 25% Compound Annual Growth Rate that produced today's global No.1 player, and are not only setting new standards in new retail, but are also presenting a new basis for allocating account responsibilities of our best NAMs.

All things being equal, why not consider early growth rate as a way of identifying embryo major accounts, acknowledging if the formula is right, that profitability and scale will follow...

Whilst we are not quite suggesting that "suppliers should ditch 'no growth' supermarkets, in favour of high growth areas of the food market like online and discounters" (Booker's Charles Wilson, City Food Lecture), perhaps a fundamental shift in NAM responsibilities would help to keep several balls in the air?

Tuesday 28 January 2014

When online meets real world - how import restrictions are raising the bar...

With different motives, some governments are trying to slow down the development of imported online purchases.

As reported in the Financial Times, Russia, one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets, has imposed new customs regulations - submission of some original documents and credit card payment records - to hinder courier deliveries to private customers. DHL and FedEx are reported to have suspended express deliveries from abroad to individuals in Russia because of extra paperwork on all parcels for personal use, regardless of shipment value.

Currently just 2% of Russian retail sales are conducted online, but that is expected to rise to 5%, more than tripling the size of the online retail market by 2015, according to Morgan Stanley.

Incidentally, if you think the Russian restrictions are bad, Argentina goes one better, albeit in an attempt to cope with falling levels of foreign currency reserves…  Under the new rules, shoppers can make just two purchases each year from foreign online and mail-order companies. Any purchases beyond that will be treated as imports, and will require extensive paperwork such as a signed declaration to the customs office in advance, before they can collect their packages, for each international purchase.

Given their pragmatism, it is probable that Amazon will escalate their operation in Russia to restore the simplicity of its business model, and possibly an aggregator role to provide an Amazon  route into Russia for those who cannot, or will not, play in the customs ball-park…

…while the authorities have full access to internal traffic for tax purposes…

Thursday 7 November 2013

See it, snap it, buy it: the new way to shop online...

"We shop with our eyes, so why not search with a photo?" asks Jenny Griffiths, founder and CEO of Snap Fashion, the fashion search engine that uses pictures instead of words.

Her idea was born out of her frustration at trying and failing to find affordable equivalents to the designer clothes she found in fashion magazines. When regular search engines failed to quench her affordable fashion thirst - there are after all only so many ways you can describe an item of clothing to Google - the 26-year-old realised that her quest would be markedly easier if she could just submit a photo of the item she was searching for.

Snap Fashion obviously meets a shopper-need, but savvy NAMs will appreciate that there is a much bigger idea lurking here…

In other words, this is all about pattern and shape recognition. So anytime you see an ornament, poster, piece of furniture, hairstyle, gadget, or even a foreign-language version pack of a ‘well-known’ brand and ‘you don’t like to ask’, a simple pic will help you to find an affordable source..

In fact, all it would take is for a company called Amazon to adapt the software to their site to flesh out the real potential….

Wednesday 6 November 2013

"clicks to bricks" - Online retailers move into the High Street

Rapha Cycle Club on Brewer Street, near Piccadilly Circus
"Retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use of online and digital technology for shopping - we like shopping in stores," says Nicole Flasch-Mihalko of LIM College, which carried out a survey with the National Retail Federation in the US.

A number of online retailers have taken the survey findings to heart....
For instance, Rapha, which started as an online business in 2004 selling high-performance cyclewear, opened its first store or Cycle Club in San Francisco in 2011. Now it also has branches in London, Osaka, New York and Sydney.

Rapha says its stores have been a big hit with customers, offering a showcase for its clothing but also acting as a place to absorb cycle culture - to drink coffee, join in organised cycle rides and watch major races on big screens.

For High Street landlords with vacant space to rent as well as online start-ups this trend is good news, says Ross Bailey, founder and chief executive of Appear Here. His firm brings together shop landlords and mainly e-commerce entrepreneurs, with the aim of making renting a pop-up or permanent physical shop easier and more flexible.

The key idea is online retailers - Ronliners -, with no baggage or no preconceived notion of what works in classic retailing, but especially with little to fear from the emergence of online, can focus on the shopper's experiential interaction with the product, secure in the knowledge that they have already secured the ongoing deal...

...while their traditional competitors focus on restricting access to the instore wifi... 

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Personal one-hour supermarket delivery service launches in London

Pocket Shop, a start-up website, has launched the ultimate in fast grocery deliveries – promising to have top-up bread, eggs and milk in the hands of London customers less than an hour after they click ‘send’.

Its Amazon-based system works by allocating online orders to one of Pocket Shop’s team of 20 trained buyers around the capital, using a GPS-based algorithm similar to those employed by taxi-ordering smartphone apps. Pocket Shop could scale the business by using crowdfunding techniques to recruit more part-time buyers.

A text message alerts the buyers, directing them to the nearest Tesco or Sainsbury’s supermarket. An app on the buyers phones then displays the customer’s shopping list with instructions on the optimum way to navigate the aisles. The company offers a ‘superstore’ range of 150,000 products at prices comparable to shopping in Local and Metro convenience stores. Waitrose and Marks & Spencer will be included soon, the company claims.

A key issue might be long term profitability in that the major mults claim that home delivery costs £20/delivery compared with a £5 charge… In other words, although Pocket Shop apply a product mark-up and a 1-hour delivery charge of £6.50, they presumably have to pay the buyer…

But if it works, and think saturation of Greater London for starters, then this represents the ultimate in personal convenience, for those willing and able to pay. Having reached critical mass the concept could morph into a personal pick-up service for dry-cleaning, prescriptions, and even pensions…

Then time for Amazon to move from back office to front of store?

Friday 31 May 2013

Google Revs Up Its Online Retail Efforts With Third Party Customer Service Ratings

According to an article in eWeek, Google has reached a deal with customer service ratings vendor STELLAservice to provide buyer satisfaction data to online customers who want to buy items from Google Trusted Stores merchants and other Google partners. The program is aimed at boosting the confidence of buyers before making their online purchases from companies that they haven't dealt with in the past.

STELLAservice uses a nationwide network of full-time mystery shoppers who evaluate retail Websites and their customer service using unbiased methods, according to the company.

This will also give Google more information about what people are buying and what retailers are selling online, thereby making it easier to use the insight to drive up their ad revenue.

In addition, the move will represent a credibility-advantage over current traditional community-driven comments and reviews. Websites where purchasers post reviews of their experiences are no longer working out in practice.

However, whilst third party customer service ratings will help, we all know that ultimate success in helping people buy is down to exceeding customer expectations from enquiry to fulfillment, and beyond.., better than available alternatives, even Amazon…

The big retail cleanup
Given the stakes and stakeholders, it is becoming apparent that online will ultimately raise the service-level bar and spell the end of rogue and incompetent retailers, everywhere...leaving the field to those that can make a difference, a substantial difference! 

Thursday 23 May 2013

Walmart to send automated shopping lists to its mobile app

By crunching data about a customer's buying habits, the store thinks it can pop up the things they'll need to buy. Using its ‘bigger than Pentagon’ database, it will automatically create shopping lists for customers on its mobile app

In so doing, Walmart is endorsing its belief that in-store buying influenced by mobile use is on track to be about twice as big as e-commerce sales by 2016.

The app already includes a shopping-list function, which can tell customers where to find their products in the store and give them relevant digital coupons they can redeem through the phone.

Potential revenue stream in offering manufacturers 'highlighting' of their brands already on list?

Next step automated deliveries unless countermanded?
Risky, but if they get it right….

Monday 13 May 2013

Eliminating the cost of the last mile: InPost lockers for online pickups

                                             Pic: one of InPost global partners, source InPost site
In the UK, InPost’s new network goes up against the existing ByBox network of parcel terminals, which are mainly used for business-to-business deliveries, and also the growing number of parcel shop networks – CollectPlus, myHermes, UPS Access Point and Local Letterbox.

According to the FT, Amazon already provides a locker delivery service for items purchased on its website while CollectPlus, a joint venture between parcel delivery business Yodel and PayPoint, delivers to more than 5,000 convenience stores, newsagents and petrol stations. Earlier this year John Lewis said it would begin offering CollectPlus to shoppers buying items from its website.

InPost UK, a subsidiary of private postal operator, launched its service two weeks ago with a network of 114 locker sites in Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh among other places. The company plans to have 3,000 locker sites operational by the end of the year.

A win-win for Bricks & Mortar retailers and site-owners
Retailers can rent Inpost a site and benefit from:
  • Extra income from rent
  • Utilisation of unused sites
  • Additional revenues as a result of increased footfall
  • Increased customer satisfaction resulting from access to a new, innovative service
...with the added advantage for a retailer in not losing the 30% of space and cost of operating a 'manual' collection service instore, and perhaps a little boost for the High Street?

A final online break-through
However, the real benefit of third party operation of the collection facility has to be the elimination of the final barriers of inconvenience and cost associated with the traditional need for shoppers and retailers to coordinate a physical handover at the home, with consumers willingly absorbing the travelling cost of the final collection-mile, to pick up goods at their convenience.... 

Free 15-slide presentation here

Friday 26 April 2013

Converting showrooming into buying instore - a proactive role for brands and retailers?

Among those who showroom, two thirds use their phone whilst doing so, providing a major opportunity for brands to interact with consumers via mobile and turn browsers into buyers, at point-of-sale…

TNS’s latest annual Mobile Life study, based on responses from 38,000 people in 43 countries, shows that whilst showrooming is a very real threat, mobile can offer a solution to brands in minimising this risk. 

The study also shows that people are open to engaging with brands whilst in-store, with more than one fifth of smartphone owners keen to receive mobile coupons whilst shopping and a similar proportion interested in apps that help them navigate the store they are in, as they respond to the biggest drivers for showrooming:  reassurance on price and reassurance on suitability....

However, the key for suppliers and retailers is to resist the temptation to alienate via instore information-saturation, whether physical or online... Converting such potential ‘interruption-marketing’ into ‘permission-marketing’ can be achieved by clear announcements – physical signs, audio and online- that free wifi is available to facilitate online comparison, along with e-advice from both the stores site and brand-owners, all accessible from easy-links at point-of-sale, for those that choose to use the facilities….

In other words, retailers need to be encouraged to optimise this physical encounter with a showrooming shopper by getting their consumer-engagement right, making it easier, more convenient and worth a small premium for the potential purchaser to complete the process at that point, rather than giving the almost-completed sale to an online competitor, for a few pennies less…

Meanwhile, brand owners can help by attempting to measure the maximum price-difference that will just about prevent the showrooming shopper from going elsewhere to complete the purchase

Getting it right will benefit all parties…

Thursday 28 March 2013

BUI-ing online?

                                                                                                pic: Broadbandchoices
New research reveals that 1 in 4 Britons admit to Buying Under the Influence (BUI) online…

Apparently, in a survey of 2,000 people, 28% of those questioned said they'd shopped on the internet while under the influence of alcohol. One in four confessed they had later regretted a drunken buy…. Results range from purchases of false teeth, a musical Chairman Mao cigarette lighter, a 1930s male bathing suit and Chilli-vodka....

Personal experience
Apart from a notable near-miss return flight booked from destination to home, in that order, from personal experience I would beg to challenge the inclusion of Chilli-vodka as an indicator of BUI-online purchasing…

A few years ago when running a very intensive 24/7 workshop in the Ukraine, the client recommended a local ‘reviver’ when one needs that vital extra 30 mins output at the end of a 15hr day. I have to say that a generous shot of Chilli-vodka (must-have ingredient is a whole chilli pepper in the sealed vodka bottle) is scarily effective, but strictly for 30 minutes extra output only.

After that, one is left temporarily brain-dead, but thankfully in no condition to communicate with Amazon, 1-click or otherwise….

Have a long, no-regrets weekend, from the NamNews Team!

Thursday 14 March 2013

Showroom retailing with a difference - you try on clothes in store, but must buy online...

At the Bonobos Guideshop in Washington, D.C., visitors can sip on beer while they try on clothes for size, but they can only purchase by placing an order on the website. The clothes are then delivered for free within two business days.

Target audience: 
The try-before-you-buy strategy is ideal for men who want to look good but hate shopping. Shoppers who book an appointment at a Guideshop - and there are only two appointments an hour, so the shop is never crowded - are greeted by personal shoppers who hand them a beer and guide them to well-fitted clothes, with the benefits of trying-on outweighing any disadvantages

Inventory economies
From the traditional retailer's point of view, where it's very difficult to get the right sizes for each location, the Bonobos model means nothing is out of stock at a store unless it's out of stock companywide. In other words they are able to deliver the same productivity with a fraction of the typical inventory investment

Other trying-retailers emerging
Online eyewear dealer Warby Parker and Gap's Piperlime Internet label have been opening up physical locations for consumers to try on the goods, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plans to open stores, where customers can check out the Kindle line. It's all an attempt to ride on the $150 billion-a-year in sales success of Apple, whose hands-on-centric stores changed the focus from buying to trying.

Bonobos opened up its first Guideshop in May 2012 in New York and now has locations in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and D.C.. Five more are planned by the end of the year.

The trying future?
It is easy to dismiss the Bonobos approach as one-off, but think why consumers visit shops -trial-  and then eliminate all the elements that do not directly contribute to that process, allowing retailers to really concentrate on enriching the experience, with no distractions...welcome to the new world of ultimate shopper marketing?

More detail and video here 

Monday 3 December 2012

Mega-Monday - a vision of the future?

The first Monday in December comes shortly after payday for many consumers and in recent years has consistently been the busiest day for online retailers. Today Visa predicts that online shopping will be up 21 per cent on the equivalent day last year, making it the biggest online shopping day ever in the UK, a sentiment echoed by online retailers throughout the UK.

However, what if every Monday was Mega-Monday, on the way to 24/7?

In other words, why not multiply your online sales today by 365 and consider the resulting vision of the online future....? Moreover, in an essentially zero-sum game this online growth has to be at the expense of traditional retail...

Assume also that as consumers we respond positively to the Amazonian experts as they raise our 'norm-bar' for online access and service level, making non 1-click secondary players seem clunky by comparison...

Accepting the above, what can you do omnichannelwise to realise your fair share of the 24/7 dream?

Alternatively, why not ignore the signs and be surprised by the Mega-nightmare...? 

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Top five scams impacting online xmas shoppers

According to an online shopping survey of 1,005 people commissioned by software security vendor, Kaspersky Lab, 76 per cent of participants will be purchasing Christmas gifts online this year, and each of these is potentially vulnerable to credit card theft and other scams during the holiday season.

Top five holiday scams:
  1. Christmas eCards: links to eCards may contain malware
  2. Parcel delivery notifications: fake delivery notification emails may infect computers
  3. Fake order confirmations: fake order confirmation emails causing shoppers to think someone ordered a product under their name
  4. Holiday screen savers: Holiday-themed screen saver downloads can contain malware
  5. Social media malware: include fake Facebook Christmas competitions, video links with malware, and Twitter viruses
Some tips available here

Managing online trust
Give the fragility of many shoppers confidence in online purchasing, it is vital that suppliers and retailers build consumer education and xx into their online communication. The Catch 22 is that such education needs pitching in ways that reassure rather than further de-stabilise nervous shoppers.

However, the real solution has to be strong online branding.
If in any doubt, think what Amazon has achieved by distilling all consumer reluctance into          1-Click shopping… 

Wednesday 21 November 2012

'3D tape measure' for online shoppers, a pointer for NAMs?

Scientists from Surrey University and design experts from the London College of Fashion are developing a programme which can take precise waist, hip, chest and other measurements from camera images.
Using the person's height as a starting point, the software will be able to build up a 3D image and estimate their size at various different points on the body, based on their overall proportions.

Why it matters...
The result will be a more accurate sizing guide than systems based on waist size or a "small/medium/large" scale, which rely on limited measurements and the buyer's perception of their own body size. Instead, the programme will use the exact measurements of each individual garment to predict which size will be the best fit, avoiding shopper tendency to order several sizes of the same garment, just-in-case…

Ultimate in shopper engagement 
For fmcg NAMs, the issue is not how much extra clothes it sells, but the degree of competition it represents to ‘regular’ fmcg in terms of shopper engagement (coupons, leaflets, competitions, pale by comparison….).
This advance in meeting online shopper needs really forces fmcg suppliers to find more creative ways of engaging with the shopper, like tying self-measure monitoring to dietary aids/foods, for starters....

Time to encourage your marketing colleagues to re-assess and engage with consumer needs, before retailers add a real difference to private label? 

Friday 19 October 2012

Optimising your E-xperience via the IGD’s: Trading in a Digital World. (Part 1)

With almost 250 delegates, all four major online grocers, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado, together with some key suppliers, shared online updates, plans and joint-opportunities with a multifunctional audience that buzzed throughout the session, and not only via text-questions to the speakers...

However, apart from being a great idea-source (I managed to limit my note-taking to 8 pages, more in later postings), the presentations touched on some of the key issues affecting the development of online for both suppliers and retailers that are perhaps not aired sufficiently, but have material impact on personal development within the supplier-retailer environment…

‘The poor relative syndrome’
Essentially, in common with many new business initiatives, online can be a small but patently important development for a company. In a flat-line market online provides high-growth, innovation, novelty and excitement compared with the traditional business. However, it is often seen as a relatively high risk diversion, with many risking a ‘wait and see’ mode. In other words, if successful, online will have many parents, whilst if it fails, it will morph into an orphan. As such, online tends to be insufficiently funded and hampered by inadequate resourcing, especially in uncertain times...

The need to sell from within…
For these reasons, much depends on the drive and enthusiasm of those involved in online to constantly ‘sell’ the online idea and achieve results by persuasion, taking on full responsibility, with little designated authority…(rather like the role of a traditional NAM, a resident expert in achieving change against impossible odds...)

Selling is vital to ensure that online is integrated into mainstream business strategies, taking each of the key business functions and ensuring there is an online equivalent, with dedicated personnel, all sharing the opportunities and insights, enthusiastically, in the face of traditional priorities, envy and deep down, fear of change.

How to sell the online idea
Realistically, online will need to be sold, and sold convincingly by those who hope to make it yield its full potential, fast…

In other words, think of your company as a reluctant buyer, leaving you but two ways of attracting attention of the rest of the business – curiosity and fear. By making a ‘buyer’ of ideas curious to hear more or fearful of inaction, we destabilise their status quo, leaving them susceptible to change.

Fortunately the novelty of online provides enormous scope for making colleagues curious, whilst the continuing downward spiral of categories such as CDs, DVDs, Games, Magazines and Newspapers provides ample evidence of the dangers of inadequate corporate response to emerging technologies….

Keep in mind that online supporters in retail have similar issues
A key point of the conference for me was that colleagues in online retail share the same in-house issues. In other words, you will find your equivalent within your major customer needs support and can assist in return, in helping online realise its full potential for suppliers and retailers.

For me this was demonstrated by the fact that each retailer ended their presentation with specific steps on how to optimise the online supplier-retailer relationship, encouraging supplier-colleagues to find ways of innovating within a new online retail environment, signalling a willingness to identify and implement genuine fair-share synergies with like-minded suppliers.

Missing E-opportunities?
To avoid further delay, it is now time to play catch-up by attending events like the IGD digital session, and helping your traditional colleagues come to terms with how fast the E-food train is already travelling...

We may be some years away from a ‘beam me up, Scotty’ facility, but in the meantime, there is little harm in exploring appropriate ‘what-if’s’ for your business model…

Meanwhile, why not go online and have an E-xtatic weekend, from the NamNews team!  

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Tesco to build national network of online-only 'dark stores'

They are not open to the public but used to assist nearby shops unable to keep up with internet orders. Tesco already has four dark stores in London but internet boss Ken Towle said on Monday that another two would open in Crawley and Erith, near Dartford, and it was scouting other cities, including Birmingham and Manchester, for locations.

Future dark stores
Towle said Tesco's would need "tens" rather than "hundreds" of dark stores. Speaking last week, Tesco chief executive, Philip Clarke, said "provides all the growth we have in our core food businesses these days".

Where this is heading
Besides representing a threat to Ocado, Tesco with 50% of an online grocery market that will be worth 6% of total grocery spend by 2016 (IGD), the market leader is still at an early stage in its rebalancing of online-and physical store presence that will reflect online demand, with an increasing dark store weighting that will provide a means of reducing online overheads and help to subsidise the cost of home delivery.

In other words, it will always be difficult for online grocers to break out of the '£5-per-drop' mode, so lower-cost dark stores will help by releasing more of the retail margin to help cover delivery cost losses   (See posting below)