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Marks and Spencer questioned over lack of e-commerce offering

23 May 2013 - 19:17 by Graham Miller

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There have been lots of stories relating to online grocery shopping in the last few weeks, mostly generated as a result of Morrisons' announcement of a deal with Ocado, which will see its own e-commerce service go live early next year.

However, one major retailer which remains strangely absent from the online grocery market is Marks & Spencer.

Writing for the Channel 4 News blog, Siobhan Kennedy looked at why M&S has not yet entered the fray with its competitors and attempted to take food shopping to the web, as well as asking whether it can afford to keep up its recalcitrant tactics.

It is possible to buy items from M&S via safe shopping online, although its site mainly deals in clothing, with the food offerings limited to orderable items, which need to be picked up in-store.

A fully fledged food delivery service which brings the weekly shop direct to customers' homes has yet to emerge.

Kennedy points out that M&S boss, Marc Bolland, said late last year that the unprofitable nature of e-commerce grocery delivery meant that his company was not going to enter this market any time soon.

However, M&S has hit some choppy waters in recent months, with its in-store food section actually being one of its most successful areas.

Morrisons was in the same boat as M&S until recently, with no clear strategy for safe shopping online leading it down a path to falling sales and a potentially dismal future.

It seems that big high street retailers cannot really justify a lack of e-commerce presence these days, particularly since consumers have a certain set of expectations about what they should be able to achieve, when interacting with and engaging in shopping through their favourite brands and outlets on the web.