Retailers clueless when it comes to the web

The UK's top retailers are losing out on £500m because they're neglecting their websites.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
We might be a decade into the digital age, but retailers are losing hundreds of millions of pounds because they apparently haven’t worked out how to hook potential customers online.

And these aren’t small companies: some of the UK’s top retailers, including Morrisons, Dixons and Phones4U are guilty of not keeping their websites and phone apps up to scratch, according to research commissioned by digital agency Head London and carried out by Oxford Economics.

It’s an expensive mistake – retailers missed out on a total of £500m over three years as consumers gave up trying to work their websites. Morrisons is the retailer losing the biggest amount as it drags its heels over the world wide web. The supermarket chain lost out on a potential £314m in sales between 2007 and 2010 because it doesn’t let people shop online and doesn’t do home delivery - although it is (admittedly rather belatedly) trying to address that, and hired former Apple internet store director Simon Thompson earlier this month to help. Tesco, on the other hand, generated an extra £225m in sales because of its pains to make online shopping easy for their customers.

Dixons and Homebase were also flagged up as firms maintaining a poor online presence when it comes to sales, losing out on £32.6m and £9.6m respectively. Considering Dixons reported earlier this month that sales slumped by 10% in the three months to July, that figure must be a bit of a kick in the teeth to say the least.  

‘[Retailers] usually have a mobile website and even an app, but too often these services are not joined up. By not giving customers the information they need on the platform of their choice they are less likely to complete purchases,’ said Paul-Jervis Heath of Head London.

Meanwhile Phones4U could have lined its pockets with an extra £17.5m had it been more internet-savvy.  Perhaps it should have spent less time thinking up those controversial Jesus ad campaigns and more time making sure its own website got the thumbs up.

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