Thursday, 8 March 2012


Retail has seen its worst economic climate in our life-times and as a buyer this gives the role a new dimension in terms of product selection, but as an ecommerce business, we are in a privileged position to be able to shape the way consumers shop.  

We have all seen the high street sales figures and reports of hundreds of stores closing, with some retailers moving their focus to their ecommerce sites.   This isn't just about the shift in consumer behaviour towards online shopping, it's about the heightened expectation for a better experience, better product and service. 

Digital has changed  consumers’ expectations across the board and particularly when it comes to the product itself.  Now shoppers can watch live streams of the catwalk shows, see each look hit the catwalk on Twitter, pre-order the collections and in fact click to buy their favourite pieces straight off the catwalk.  Pre collections and Cruise collections have become a core part of a designer’s business and that of the retailers as consumers want the next new items.

The innovation in mobile commerce presents both high street and online retailers with a huge opportunity to further integrate their off-line and online channels and bring a new dimension to viewing product.   A number of leading retailers are now using QR codes to give customers the chance to view products and editorial content straight from a page and provide an opportunity to purchase the product online from a mobile device.

The next twelve months is going to present an even more challenging economic environment, which is going to lead to a survival of the fittest.   I believe it going to be the savvier retailers that survive.  The ones that put the customer first, creating an improved customer experience, with the best product merchandised and presented in the right way, while looking at their shopping habits and creating a seamless, integrated multi-channel experience, are going to drive the retail market forward.   As retailers, whether that is online or bricks or mortar, we have the opportunity to shape and change the way consumer shop and that makes it a very exciting place to be.

Luisa De Paula, buying director at

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