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Retailers unprepared for booming e-commerce sales

14 January 2014 - 12:01 by Paul Tissington

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A number of the biggest retailers in the UK have expressed surprise at the extent to which consumers decided to buy products via safe shopping online over the festive period of 2013, according to the Telegraph.

Tesco chief exec, Philip Clarke, said that while he was pleased with his firm's performance in the e-commerce market, his main regret is that it did not get into selling non-food items over the web earlier and with greater eagerness than it actually did.

Tesco accounts for 47 per cent of the online grocery market in the UK and, globally it is the leader when it comes to selling food through safe shopping online, although it lags behind many other companies in terms of shifting other items.

And of course because Tesco is still heavily involved in bricks and mortar retail, where sales were sluggish, it is having to use its online buoyancy to prop up performance on the high street.

Industry experts are urging retailers to no longer think of e-commerce as a separate facet of their business, but something which has to be built in from the foundations up and fostered as thoroughly as possible, to ensure long term success.

Morrisons is the perfect example of a company that has ignored the online side of retail for too long and is now suffering the consequences.

While it is losing out to mainstream rivals when it comes to online sales, it is seeing its real world stores facing stiff competition from bargain basement chains like Aldi and Lidl, leaving it in a difficult position going forwards.

The fact that powerful executives in the retail industry are surprised by the rate at which online shopping is taking over, shows that consumers really are leading the way at the moment.