14 July 2020

IMRG: How to use stores to get the most out of eCommerce

James Thomas, MD at Intersoft contributed to the latest IMRG blog on how eCommerce plays a vital role within stores in the climate of the coronavirus crisis.


How to use stores to get the most out of eCommerce

How to use stores to get the most out of eCommerce is something retailers have seemingly given lots of thought to since 23 March when the majority of physical retail spaces were temporarily closed to the public due to government restrictions.

Whether going completely ‘dark’ and setting stores up as online fulfilment hubs from where items are picked, packed, and fulfilled, a la Majestic Wine, or using shops for a combination of click & collect and home delivery only, which was the case at B&Q until it recently reopened some of its estate, retailers have shown flexibility. Dunelm is also offering new forms of click & collect, with items brought to people’s cars and left by the boot by a member of staff for those unwilling to venture to the shopfront.

Each of the aforementioned retailers were permitted to keep stores open if they felt it appropriate to do so. They are all deemed ‘essential’ in this health emergency, according to the government, but they initially felt it was safer to keep shops closed and adapt their eCommerce models as the pandemic escalated.


The right blend

While new sophisticated modelling is arguably required, so too is the ability to address the fundamentals of running multichannel operations.

Mark Finch, vice president of EMEA sales at Moxie, a customer engagement software business, says: “Welcoming customers to digital sites and proactively guiding them to updated information about store hours and procedures, and even to the nearest location to drop off a return or pick up an item, enhances confidence, trust and loyalty at a time where consumer anxiety and uncertainty are higher than ever.”

James Thomas, managing director at Intersoft, a delivery management software provider, presents Apple’s stores as “a prime example” of how to blend physical and digital retail.

In providing a personal one-to-one service via staff in shops, but taking payment digitally and arranging follow-up delivery of products, the global technology titan neatly creates “showroom-style shopfronts”, he says, which suits many modern consumers.

Read the full article here