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World Retail Congress 2010

Marks& Spencer is half way down its path of developing an integrated multi-channel retail proposition and has to date found the toughest task involved changing the mindset of the stores-based employees and management. By Glynn Davis in Berlin


World Retail Congress 2010

Speaking on day one of the World Retail Congress 2010 in Germany Susan Aubrey-Cound, director of multi-channel development, told delegates that “there has been a big shift required in the mindset of stores teams and management in integrating the [different parts of the] business”.

Helping this has been the introduction of the ‘Shop Your Way’ desks into its stores. These involve web-enabled kiosks that enable online orders to be placed for customers by a member of the stores teams. These have highlighted to the team just how important the online platform is to overall sales and M&S’ objective of developing itself into a multi-channel retailer.

Fundamental to this has been the decision by M&S to reflect in the sales figures of each store those online orders that require in-store collection. “All of a sudden store staff could see sales increases when the customer used the online platform in-store,” says Aubrey-Cound.
However, the multi-channel journey for M&S also requires a great amount of work at the back-end “tying together legacy stock systems with the dynamic of one-to-one ordering”. And when this is combined with the growth of mobile commerce and the emergence of devices like the iPad then the time taken to reach then end of M&S’ multi-channel journey increases. “We are two years down our three-to-four year journey but it changes all the time,” admits Aubrey-Cound.

The Retail Bulletin is organising their 2nd Multichannel Summit, to be held in London February 2nd 2011. The event is sponsored by k3 retail and will look at how retailers can maximize profits, market share and loyalty through cost effective, seamless, integrated multichannel strategies.
If you would like to attend as either a delegate or Networking Partner, go to

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