Friday, April 06, 2007

Traditional mail order is dying. Long live mail delivered retail!

Verdicts' latest report about the UK mail order business shows that traditional mail order is fading away. The 'Big Books' such as Shop Direct, Littlewoods, Otto, Freemans, Grattan and Redcats relied on local agents and an ability to offer credit. Now that credit is freely available to all and with the rise of discount retailers on the high street, this once dominant sector of the mail order market seems to have few prospects.

And yet more and more customers are buying remotely and getting products delivered.

I've always maintained that the most interesting figure to examine would be the split between delivered retail sales versus sales of goods collected from a store. Sadly no-one seems to be capturing or estimating this. I'm confident that if the delivered/collected percentage was calculated over the last decade it would show that although mail order is in steep decline, mail delivered retail (which would cover ecommerce, TV shopping and catalogue sales as well as multi-channel sales from high street brands) is rising.

Verdict - over to you!

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