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Morrisons and the insatiable lure of multi-channel

Posted on by St John

Morrisons and the insatiable lure of multi-channel

Prova account manager, Faye Callaghan, lifts the lid on recent online developments in retailing.

At the beginning of the year The Guardian reported that Morrisons had experienced the least successful festive period of any UK supermarket. The doom and gloom has continued into 2013 with the retailer announcing just last week that sales for the first quarter are down 1.8 per cent on last year. Will this be the final nail in the coffin for Morrisons stance against the wave of multi-channel retail offerings?

It is inevitable then that spring 2013 brings with it the news that Morrisons will finally be giving in and joining all other major retailers in offering a home delivery service.

The retailer has had to recognise that multi-channel retailing is only going to gain momentum. As Smartphones, tablets and other portable devices become more intuitive and advanced; consumers will have fewer reasons to spend their money in traditional bricks and mortar outlets. Why leave the comfort of your own home and traipse between different shops, when you can do it all in one place and have someone bring it to your door the same day if you like?

Giving Morrisons its due, the retailer has tried very hard to stand its ground, dressing its stores to look like market places of old, advertising that personal service that the consumer would expect from a smaller store, even investing in technology that continuously spritzes its fruit and veg with a cool mist to help keep it looking fresh and tempting. But even the support of Ant and Dec could not save the store from the inevitable, multi-channel retailing is the only sensible option in this day and age. Sure, some customers will always prefer the look and feel of a real shop and Morrisons will do well in attracting them with its traditional shopping feel and USP’s like Market Street, but there is a new generation of shoppers coming through and they just won’t share the same nostalgia. They will have grown up in an age when your phone/tablet gives you news updates; schedules your diary and even keeps you updated on what your friends are up to. Why would they expect shopping to be any different?

Morrisons has now signed a deal with Ocado to carry out its online operation and plans to launch a ‘multi-format, multi-channel’ offering by January 2014 are apparently progressing. It’s about time too Morrisons, there’s some catching up to do by the looks of it!

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