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Marks and Spencer considers entering e-commerce market

02 May 2017 - 09:16 by Sarah Collinson

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While Marks & Spencer has avoided involving itself in the world of online grocery sales so far, the chain now looks set to dip its toes in the water with a small scale trial set to be held later in the year.

Retail Week reports that M&S is broaching the concept of a widespread e-commerce roll-out, offering a wide range of food to customers via safe shopping online. It would join competitors including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in providing home delivery as well as in-store collection.

This is not the first time that M&S has considered online expansion; it sells a small selection of products via its website at the moment, but has not wholly embraced major orders, instead focusing on alcohol and food for events.

Company spokesperson, Steve Rowe, argued that M&S has lost nothing over the last half-decade as a result of staying out of the e-commerce market, in part because its customers have not made the leap to using safe shopping online for their groceries. However, the impending trial suggests that things are starting to change and it can no longer afford to shun this part of the market.

Rowe also spoke about the logistical and economic challenges associated with launching an online grocery service, stating that it would not be possible for M&S to justify such a move until it had a thorough understanding of what customers want from such a platform and how best to offer them a compelling e-commerce experience.

Food is becoming an important asset for M&S in the bricks and mortar market, with 34 more food halls set to open before the end of the year to join its existing army of outlets. It is moving away from non-grocery products and could well perform effectively if its online ambitions are realised.