Technology and retail must work hand in hand
Traditional High street brands that have been struggling due to Covid 19 need to partner with those who have embraced technology, say leading tax and advisory firm, Blick Rothenberg
Daniel Burke, a partner at the firm said:” It’s either that or they are likely to fail. There is an accelerating shift in power which was evidenced this week when online supermarket company Ocado became the UKs biggest supermarket in terms of market capitalisation. Ocado has no physical presence on any high street, but it is now worth £21.7bn. That makes it bigger than Tesco, and bigger than M&S, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons combined.”
He added: “Established brands are now collaborating with relatively young but well-known tech and online businesses. Recently Marks & Spencer teamed up with Ocado – after they bought half of Ocado’s retail business last year for £750m, and shoppers are now able to purchase clothes as well as groceries through the Ocado platform. Given Ocado’s emergence as a market leader (certainly in market cap terms) this should also be a big boost for M&S. ”
“Recently we also saw online fashion giant Boohoo, which also has no physical presence on the high street, take over former high street businesses Oasis and Warehouse. We are going to see more and more big brand e-commerce businesses taking over well-known, but failing brands that have not caught up with the modern world. Without a strong online brand presence businesses will clearly struggle. “
Although we have seen lots of job losses in recent months, there are new jobs being created. They are not the same types of jobs, but retail is changing. Discount supermarket Aldi has said it expects to create 4,000 new jobs in 2021 as part of a £1.3bn two-year investment plan. The investment would include new and upgraded stores and distribution centres as well as a recently announced “click and collect” service. They have lagged behind the bigger chains in the development of online delivery; however, Aldi has now invested in “click and collect” offerings and recently revealed plans to deliver groceries through a partnership with Deliveroo. In addition, Morrisons is hiring more than 1000 new permanent staff to fulfil online orders through Amazon Prime. After expanding its partnership with Amazon in August, seeing its entire range of goods sold via the ecommerce giant’s website for the first time, Morrisons is now embarking on a recruitment frenzy to meet demand.
Daniel said: “ For businesses which are behind the curve in their digital presence, collaboration with a strong technology partner could be seen as a good strategy to fast-track its omnichannel offering and even perhaps switching to an online platform. Regardless of the sales channels, it is vital for all retailers to have a strong and distinct brand especially at a time when the digital space is allowing new and young companies to promote themselves globally.”