M-commerce boom helps UK e-retailers ‘super-charge’ sales
The UK’s largest online retailers pulled in £8.4 billion in the 12 months to August 2017, up from £6.8 million the year before, according to research by law firm RPC.
And the e-retail boom shows no signs of slowing down, with the likes of Asos and AO.com powering ahead, thanks in large part to the rise of mobile commerce. Online retailers are sharpening their competitive edge by investing in automation in their warehousing and logistics to become more efficient as competition on choice, price and customer convenience intensifies. For example, Ocado recently announced it is to invest £150 million in warehouse robotics.
Bricks and mortar retailers are, meanwhile, increasingly reliant on their online offerings to deliver sales growth. For example, RPC’s research found that in the last year Marks & Spencer’s online sales were up by 6%, compared to just 1% for its retail operations as a whole. “The maturing of m-commerce is helping e-retailers super-charge sales,” says Jeremy Drew, Co-Head of Retail at RPC. “Increasingly sophisticated mobile shopping platforms are making it easy for consumers to make purchases quickly and easily whenever they want, wherever they are. From being virtually unknown five or ten years ago, many online-only retailers are building strong brands and grabbing more and more market share."
He adds: "Innovative business models and rapidly evolving new technologies such as robotics and AI are enabling e-tailers to be increasingly agile and responsive to customers, while still keeping prices down. Now we are seeing more bricks and mortar retailers investing heavily in their online offerings too, in an attempt to catch up.”