The retail technology week in quotes
Here are the comments that caught our eye this week
“Shopping on our High Streets is an enormous part of our recreational economy, and that space isn’t going to be filled by the faster option of ordering online. The truth is that there’s a place for both online and in-store businesses in our economy, and it’s exciting to be involved in that shift in the market.” Martin Newman, Founder and former Chairman, Practicology
“From a technology perspective, the top three for in-store CX in our report - Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda - have all explored ways to reduce friction at the checkout, which is consistently a top pain point for shoppers, using either self-service, mobile app payment, or other methods to speed up transactions and give consumers purchasing control. It seems everyone’s looking for that Amazon Go-like showstopper.” Matt Bradley, Event Director, RetailEXPO
“The CMA’s initial findings fundamentally misunderstand how people shop in the UK today and the intensity of competition in the grocery market. The CMA has moved the goalposts and its analysis is inconsistent with comparable cases. Combining Sainsbury’s and Asda would create significant cost savings, which would allow us to lower prices. Despite the savings being independently reviewed by two separate industry specialists, the CMA has chosen to discount them as benefits.
We are surprised that the CMA would choose to reject the opportunity to put money directly into customers’ pockets, particularly at this time of economic uncertainty. We will be working to understand the rationale behind these findings and will continue to press our case in the coming weeks.” Sainsbury’s spokesperson
“Everyone I spoke to (at the Retail Summit) was quick to acknowledge that there’s no such thing as being ‘Amazon-proof’, but equally that Amazon isn’t the be all and end all of retail. Many CEOs were keen to point to the fact that Amazon can’t do curation, community, experience, discovery, personalisation – all the things Miya Knights and I highlight in our book. This also means an end to ‘being all things to all people’ and that we’ll see more specialist, disruptive retailers popping up, catering to specific customer needs and styles.
Equally, Chieh Huang, founder of Boxed, told me how the Amazon/Whole Foods deal was actually beneficial in that it stimulated demand for online grocery in the US (although in the process it also created stronger competition as legacy retailers upped their game). Huang’s point echoes past comments from CEOs of Ocado and Instacart, the latter even referring to Amazon/Whole Foods as a “blessing in disguise”. Natalie Berg, retail analyst and Founder of NBK Retail
“Let us be clear, you would do well to think about what your grandfather said in 1906: “The recognition of their language is precious to small people”. Wise words. Because when you don’t, you’ll find small people will, perhaps unfairly, judge your character by your words.” Poundland to Nicholas Soames, member of Parliament for Mid Sussex
“Amazon Go is truly an incredible store and I'm a huge fan, but it’s more like Disney World than a practical solution for retailers today that need to keep in-store costs down to compete with online retailers that have very little overhead..But when you’re Jeff Bezos, you don’t care. It’s also a great place to put profit from other areas of your business to pay less on your taxes.” Former Walmart exec, Joel Larson
“An online sales tax would be a retrograde step, causing damage to the UK economy. We should be supporting the High Street by encouraging innovation, rather than damaging future prospects for all.” Simon Wharton, Business Strategy Director, Pushon