Digital Wildfire takes hold


Over the years the extent of the digital landscape of retailers has grown like ‘digital wildfire’ and can to some extent be viewed as a real threat to their future capabilities. For retail this presents an emerging and what is becoming a significant problem

Retailers must have an understanding of what exactly constitutes their entire digital landscape, this being far more than a list of domains or the approved social pages.

Most companies have a difficulty knowing what they have out there in terms of their digital assets. The case of HMV losing control of its social media channels to some disgruntled employees when it made redundancies has been well documented – page wasn’t known about and the basic rules were not applied.

And there was the recent case of a QR code being used by Heinz on its ketchup bottles that led customers to a porn site. The registration of the URL had lapsed and reassigned to the adult content site and Heinz had not kept a record of this online asset.

The reality for most retailers is that they have had over 10 years of various people coming in and out of their e-commerce and IT departments that have all undertaken a variety of projects for an array of different people. Contractors, changing agencies, organisations the retailer has bought, and cloud service providers all muddy the water and make visibility of digital assets all the more tougher for retailers to get a firm and clear handle on.

The result is that they have ended up with a ‘digital bucket’ that holds various websites, analytics providers’ solutions, and content management systems etcetera. There is no over-arching view of this spaghetti-load of assets.

According to Sitemorse, research has found that retailers have no knowledge of an astonishing 41% of their digital properties – this is a serious worry. The company has also found that when it undertakes landscape mapping for retailers it identifies things like social media pages, mobile apps, web domains, and online promotional offers that the business knows absolutely nothing about.

Even in regulated industries firms do not have a full inventory of what they operate so it is not surprising that in the world of retail there is even more of a problem that pervades the sector.

Until retailers accept there is an issue of digital wildfire then it is not going to be extinguished anytime soon. The problem is only going to get worse.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider


Read full story

Innovative Retailer – Argos

The Name: Argos The Place: Oh everywhere. Almost everyone lives within ten miles of an Argos store apparently. The Story: Innovation, you say. Argos, you say. It can’t be done, you say. Actually I haven’t… Well, this column is about to prove to you once and for all that a big company with a catalogue […]

Read full story

Doddle ranked top digital retail innovation 2015

Doddle has been ranked the leading innovation in the second annual ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations’ report 2015 ahead of Starbucks pay ahead app and Waitrose Hiku home scanning solution. The high placing of Doddle reflects the prominence of logistics solutions in this year’s report and highlights how retailers are still grappling with fulfilment and […]

Read full story

Movers & Shakers Q&A – Steve Robinson, CEO, Achica

Steve Robinson, CEO, Achica 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Younger business are fortunate not to have the same constraints as older ones; difficult to exit leases, hard to change cultures, historical pension commitments, expensive to change legacy systems etc. Starting with a clean sheet of paper allows you to be agile, […]

Read full story

Retailers must embrace digital

Far too many retailers are unskilled in the area of digital and this puts them in a sufficiently precarious position as to threaten their very existences. The mindsets of executives at the top of a whole raft of retailers must be changed if their companies are to fully grasp the challenges and opportunities of digital […]

Read full story

Big book catalogues reach final chapter

Even very recently catalogues were seen as integral to the likes of Shop Direct, N. Brown and Argos – with millions of them distributed each year. But the acceleration of online sales has dramatically reduced these retailers’ reliance on paper-based catalogues over the past few years. Such has been the extent of the internet’s impact […]

Read full story

Retail Insider Beer Tasting Event – with Robin Phillips, omni-channel and development director, Boots UK + Paddy Johnson, co-founder, Windsor & Eton Brewery

  Retail Insider has held its latest event – combining a tutored Beer Tasting with Paddy Johnson of Windsor & Eton Brewery and a talk by Robin Phillips, omni-channel and development director at Boots UK – that highlighted both the vibrancy of the UK beer scene and the opportunities for retailers from developing multi-channel propositions. Senior […]

Read full story

Poundland looking for certainty with 99p Stores purchase

There are few certainties in business and the retail sector specifically operates in an environment where there are now ever fewer guarantees. Where once growth was driven by simply adding physical stores, today’s digital world means things are a lot more complicated. What might have been regarded as a rare certainty was a green light […]

Read full story

Naked Wines suffers poor online performance in May

As Naked Wines is acquired by Majestic Wines its website endures a disastrous month with its performance deteriorating dramatically to push it way down the table of the Top UK drinks websites in May, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse. It slipped 19 places to the bottom of the […]

Read full story

Movers & Shakers Q&A – Jon Wragg, director of e-commerce and marketing at Supergroup

Jon Wragg, director of e-commerce and marketing at Supergroup 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The greatest opportunity never changes – it is to continue to create product that our customers love, and to give them access to that product and to our Brand through whatever medium they choose.   We are fortunate in that we […]

Read full story

Innovative Retailer – Mast Brothers

The Name: Mast Brothers The Place: New York City, London and soon to be Los Angeles. And expanding. The Story: Let me ask you a question. What’s the definition of a difficult sell? Well, let’s see, there’s snow and Eskimos: Harder. Coals and Newcastle. Harder. Give up: Trying to get people to part with £8 […]

Read full story

Retail’s disastrous use of social media

Arguably the most important customers to retailers are those whose spending power will increase over time and who therefore represent the future revenue streams of merchants.   These are the younger generation and it is they who are, not surprisingly most courted by retailers, advertisers, and brand owners. Everybody wants their custom. What connects these […]

Read full story

Unwanted self-service checkouts in the shopping area

For years shoppers have been told that they really do like to use self-service checkouts. But do they? Well, judging by the findings of a recent bit of research by Morrisons, consumers don’t actually like self-service checkouts. In fact, it found a whopping 96% of its customers prefer to use a staffed checkout. Not surprisingly […]

Read full story

Beer Insider joins Retail Insider stable

As many friends and readers of Retail Insider will know the editor Glynn Davis also writes about beer and pubs for a number of publications and has on occasion slipped such aspects into Retail Insider. For those people out there who found those pieces of interest then you might like to know that a sister […]

Read full story

Delivering the Holy Grail in the land of hype?

The Americans have a reputation for selling well and have managed to become world renowned for their ability to convince us of the worth of their products and services – with hype playing its part in this. There are few areas where things are as over-sold and over-hyped as technology – especially in Silicon Valley. […]

Read full story

Viewpoint – Transformational month for fashion retail

If there was ever a sign that the world of online fashion has grown up it came this past month with luxury fashion retailers Yoox and Net-A-Porter announcing their merger. There is no other way of describing this bit of corporate activity other than transformational. Not only for the parties directly involved but also for […]

Read full story

Movers & Shakers Q&A – David Walmsley, director at M&

David Walmsley, director, M& 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? How we join together the physical and digital experiences of M&S for our customers. 2. What is the biggest challenge to your business? For the digital channels, the challenge remains being obsessive about listening to our customers and then turning the insight […]

Read full story

Fortnum & Mason and Iceland slip down table of top performing UK drinks sites in April

They might operate at different ends of the pricing spectrum but both F&M and Iceland suffered declines in their website’s performances in the table of the Top UK drinks sites in March, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse. F&M slipped eight places to 19th spot with a score of […]

Read full story

Viewpoint – Keep changing the proposition to stay relevant

Pret A Manger is a pretty successful business as evidenced by its recent results that showed it enjoying strong sales growth of 16% for 2014 – it has been in the double-digits annually for some years. But like any decent business the company continues to challenge itself in order that it does not go stale […]

Read full story

Stores no longer a millstone, they’re the future

On my travels recently to a conference in The Netherlands the founder and CEO of a major electrical retailer BAS Group suggested merchants without physical stores do not have a future. The inference being that the pure-plays out there need to get themselves a bricks and mortar presence – and quickly. If he is right […]

Read full story