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World Retail Congress: Poor store experience drives shoppers online

Retailers have driven consumers online because they “do a lousy job” in store, delegates at this week’s World Retail Congress (WRC) have been told.

Speaking at a session in the Paris conference yesterday Marc Schumacher, chief retail officer of German lifestyle brand Tom Tailor, said the industry “never focuses on the real problems”. While some argue that customers have become disloyal as a result of the ecommerce explosion, Schumacher claimed they had always been so.

“We talk about the experience we offer consumers but the truth is that if your conversion rates are 10-15% you are doing a pretty lousy job.

“The main reason [shopping activity] has shifted so fast is because people have been looking for an alternative for a long time. Online is more convenient, so it’s a good alternative,” he said.

He was greeted with a spontaneous round of applause from the audience.

In the same session, chief strategy officer EMEA of marketing agency Geometry Global Cesar Montes, noted that while in the past manufacturers thought ecommerce presented an opportunity for brands to “bypass retailers”, it was becoming increasingly apparent that the best way to survive was to work more closely.

“The only way to crack the puzzle is to work together – they need the retailers whether they are traditional bricks and mortar or new players,” he said.

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