THE RETAIL BULLETIN - The home of retail news
Lest we forget
HOME
RETAIL NEWS
RETAIL EVENTS
Fashion
Department Stores
Shopping Centres & Retail Parks
Home & DIY
Electricals
Health & Beauty
General Merchandise
Entertainment
Sports & Leisure
Retail Solutions
Food & Drink
Interviews
RETAIL INSIGHTS
RETAIL SOLUTIONS
ABOUT US
CONTACT US
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE
Multi-channel is the future for experimental Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer has put multi-channel at the heart of its strategy, with its stores regarded as just as important as its developing online and mobile channels, as it experiments with all parts of its business. By Glynn Davis

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Multi-channel is the future for experimental Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer has put multi-channel at the heart of its strategy, with its stores regarded as just as important as its developing online and mobile channels, as it experiments with all parts of its business. By Glynn Davis

Presenting at the recent World Retail Congress 2012 in London Laura Wade-Gery, executive director of multi-channel and e-commerce at Marks & Spencer, highlighted some of the changes taking place within the business.

"Multi-channel is a huge opportunity. There are plenty of places in the UK where a full-line clothing offer [in an M&S store] is not around the corner," she says, adding that changes in customer behaviour will drive online growth well into the future.

It is around 9% today but Wade-Gery suggests it could be 20-25% by 2020 and “might even be more” as retailers improve their online capabilities, varied delivery options become available, and new technologies such as tablets and augmented reality gain a footing.

Despite M&S having a core shopper aged 55-plus years old Wade-Gery says this is not affecting online sales as 85% of this grouping is today online. Tempting this group online are the unique products of M&S. "What we sell is only available at M&S. We don’t sell commodity products. This is a unique differentiator for us," she explains.

With a true multi-channel spirit Wade-Gery says the online offer is providing the opportunity to “get the stores to work harder and to give a better experience to customers”. Part of this was the launch of Click & Collect in 2009, which has been extraordinarily popular for many retailers. 

For M&S 40% of online orders are regularly collected in-store, which helps drive further sales from this footfall. "We’ve worked hard at bringing online and in-store together," says Wade-Gery.

This has also involved using kiosks to provide "inspiration" for the company’s home category and for its fashion ranges via its ‘Style Online’ initiative that has been rolled out to 13 stores. This aims to inject some ‘fashionability’ into its smaller stores.

"As our stores get smaller we take out more fashionable products and resort to staples. But we lose excitement. Style Online is the answer. We’ve brought in digital screens, samples and trained staff with iPads to create a style boutique. Small local stores become a more fashionable experience," explains Wade-Gery.

Free wi-fi is also being rolled out – again because she believes it will bring more value to the in-store shopping experience. This follows M&S’ early belief in the power of mobile when it became the first high street retailer to launch a mobile-optimised site.

But it is not only in the UK where the company is targeting growth as Wade-Gery says its multi-channel strategy is extending into other territories. For France the future is a combination of a few stores and a transactional website. And from the end of the year M&S will be transactional online in a total of 10 countries.

This all combines to provide challenging times for M&S and other retailers embarking on their multi-channel journeys. "It’s not easy stuff. We’re making big investments including a big distribution centre. We’re experimenting as we don’t know what will work," she says.

Don't miss the Retail Bulletin's 4th Multichannel Retailing Summit, 6th February 2013. The day's theme is 'Connecting everything in the new omni-channel world retailing environment: 360° loyalty solutions to maximise sales effectiveness at every customer touchpoint.
Click here to view the programme and Register. 

 

Email this article to a friend

You need to be logged in to use this feature.

Please log in here

Subscribe For Retail News

RETAIL EVENTS

The Retail Design Seminar 2018
The Retail Design Seminar 2018
14 November 2018
The Cavendish Conference Centre
The Retail Design Seminar 2018
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
6 February 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London WG1 9DT
A truly omnichannel offering requires an understanding of customer behaviour across all shopping channels and how this should impact your overall business strategy
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
5 June 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th Annual Retail Customer Engagement Summit
AI in Retail Conference 2019
AI in Retail Conference 2019
18 September 2019
Cavendish Conference Center, 22 Duchess Mews, London W1G 9DT
Retail marketing is changing pace rapidly by making communication across all platforms personalised, relevant, efficient, and helpful. AI not only helps shoppers find a perfect product but also pre-empts the shopping behaviour and speeds up payment.
The HR Summit 2019
The HR Summit 2019
Tuesday 8 October 2019
The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 11th HR Summit 2019, The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1, 8 October 2019