As UK consumers increasingly gravitate towards making purchases online, it is now clear that retailers need to embrace e-commerce if they want to survive and thrive in the much more complex and competitive UK retail environment. Yet, as product sales inexorably migrate online, an interesting counter-trend has begun to emerge, as several retailers that had previously operated purely in the online realm have begun to open physical outlets.
The “Buy now, pay later” concept offers end consumers the ability to get goods and services without paying immediately – trying products and returning them free of charge within a set amount of time. This checkout method gained much media hype in the UK, especially following Klarna’s partnership with Asos at the end of 2017.
With internet retailing reaching a more mature stage in the UK, and the future development of the channel expected to be less positive than the growth experienced over the last five years, retailers across all categories are expected to increasingly invest in technological innovation, as the line between online and bricks-and-mortar shopping becomes blurred. For example, Boots launched the innovative Sales Assist app in stores, which offers sales assistants access to the full range offered on boots.
Amazon.com maintained its lead in internet retailing in 2018.
Within the next five years, Amazon is expected to become a stakeholder with ever-growing bargaining power among fmcg companies. This is due not only to its sales, but also to: constant innovation, such as the Dash Button and Alexa capabilities; the continued focus on convenient innovative delivery solutions and increasing click and collect options; strong usage of valuable consumer data; as well as its focus on private label and cost reductions.
Consumers are increasingly comfortable buying from online marketplaces, thanks to the offer of effective refund systems for undelivered or low-quality goods from the leading players. The most popular online marketplaces are Amazon.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.