Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ecommerce impact downplayed by Retail Think Tank

The newly formed Retail Think Tank (RTT) has just announced that "Online retailing is unlikely to become the mainstream channel of UK retail". Who said it would?

This is simply shooting down a straw man - I don't know any serious commentator who would claim that ecommerce was likely to represent more than 50% of UK retail in the foreseeable future.

The report goes on to say that ecommerce is a variety of home shopping and as many online orders have simply switched from catalogues, stories of the growth of ecommerce shouldn't be taken too seriously.

At Digivate we have always said that the crucial split is between whether the product is delivered or collected, not between whether the order is placed online or by some other method. Ecommerce has had a huge impact on the proportion of sales that are delivered - in some categories, notably electronics, a massive percentage of retail sales are now delivered.

To any retailer who thinks that this report gives them an excuse to ignore selling online, I have news. Ecommerce doesn't need to become the "mainstream channel" to be a threat to high street stores. And any analysis of the impact of ecommerce has to look at promotion as well as transaction.

Lysander Meath Baker
Digivate - Ecommerce website design and online marketing

Source: KPMG/SPSL RTT quoted in Retail Week

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