The scope of e-commerce in retail strategy
The shakeout of dot.com retailers, such as the spectacular failure of the fashion electronic retailer Boo.com, makes e-commerce an easy target and gives credence to the view that retailers operating on the high street can relax as far as the Internet is concerned. This is further entrenched by reports that consumers are still wary about buying online, despite a plethora of safe shopping initiatives designed to build up trust in the market. However, while the Internet has not killed the high street, as media reports in the late 1990s would have had us believe, the high street should not be complacent about the impact of e-commerce. Rather the challenge is to combine the best of the ‘bricks’ and ‘clicks’ worlds to provide environments that best meet consumers’ needs. While developing retail strategies appropriate for e-commerce is no different from developing any other kind of strategy, wherein the retailer identifies a range of strategic options and assesses the most appropriate to achieve its objectives, understanding of how the market operates in this environment is vital.