We're talking about retail and we're live. Welcome to Retail Week Live 2018!* This year we're back at the enormous Intercontinental O2 near the historic borough of Greenwich, the place where time was created and we will be bringing you all of the highlights (well, as many as we can fit in!) from the two day conference. As we enter an increasingly unpredicatable and turbulent year for the UK retail industry, it's never been more important to hear from leaders across the space and their priorities to build a stronger future for retail.
This week Dick’s Sporting Goods made many headlines by taking a moral stand: They will no longer sell assault style rifles in their stores, and have raised the age to buy a firearm to 21. While they didn’t sell the exact gun to the Parkland shooter, they did sell a shotgun to him in November of 2017.
I’ll start by saying that as a Londoner I’m predisposed to be a little bit grumpy (an inevitability for anyone faced with the Central Line at rush hour) - Like many others, my expectations for shopping online have rocketed in the past few years and at least once a month I can be seen having a rant on Twitter about a disappointing experience. We all know what makes for a frustrating customer experience - getting to the last page of the checkout before being informed that item is out of stock, being charged £8 for a next day delivery or finding out that dress you bought last week is now less than half price in the sale.
As we say goodbye to - what was by all accounts - a turbulent year for the UK retail landscape (not to mention political), we’re taking a moment to look at the top stories to emerge from Christmas Peak 2017, and what they can tell us about the year ahead.
As mentioned previously, many people at Mirakl have taken a pledge not to shop on Amazon for gifts this holiday season. Our goal is to support other retailers to help them stay in business while they fix their customer experience challenges. Yes, those retailers may have been slow to make the right investments, and aren’t moving quickly enough to fix things, but let’s literally buy them some time.
As the industry moves into peak season, it feels rather like the calm before the storm. In an attempt to smooth out the extreme peaks which characterise UK Christmas season, many retailers are starting sales earlier than ever. Whilst there’s a lot of controversy about opting in or out of Black Friday, it has undoubtedly come to represent the catalyst for peak.
It’s important to start by clarifying that typically in the marketplace model, 3rd party sellers control their prices. The marketplace operator takes a commission on the sale, but doesn’t control the price.
However, today one of the largest Marketplace operators decided to wield their power and control 3rd party seller product prices. The Wall Street Journal covered Amazon’s decision to discount third party products ahead of the 2017 holiday season.
Since its launch in Las Vegas in 2016, Shoptalk has quickly established itself as a must-attend event in the retail calendar. Ever since the announcement that one of our most loved conferences in the US would be making its European debut in Copenhagen, we’ve been excited to witness the industry come together to celebrate a fantastic year for retail in Europe.
In March I published a piece titled, “Reimagining Retail: Nordstrom” in Chain Store Age. The point was to take a traditional retailer, showcase the clear need for change, and suggest a path forward. The first thing I suggested is that Nordstrom open the door to new business models.