Digital retail is the new normal

  • News
  • May 27, 2016
  • Sarah Dunn
Digital retail is the new normal

When online shopping first went mainstream, many commentators forecast the death of bricks and mortar stores in favour of ecommerce propositions, but Neville-te Rito says the reality retailers are now experiencing is more nuanced.

“Many of us have evolved beyond the myth that the internet is going to decimate retail.”

Digital now overlaps with physical commerce, to the extent that many customers are now totally distracted by their smartphones and “in a partial state of consciousness” while browsing stores, Neville-te Rito says.

Mobile devices have, via social media, enabled an effective avenue for public complaint and significantly complicated the customer journey by making all information visible at any time. These changes mean retailers are now much more at the mercy of customers than they used to be, Neville-te Rito says: “I actually enjoyed the days when we were in control. Stack it high, watch it fly.”

“In order to survive this complex, content-rich world, we need to transform our shoppers into loyal advocates.”

This greater complexity also offers a multitude of ways for retailers to connect with customers, she says. Neville-te Rito cautioned against the omnipresent focus on ‘omnichannel’ retail, saying the concept meant nothing to customers – they just want seamless, frictionless access to the products they desire.

Many traditional retailers continue to treat their ecommerce operations as separate businesses, but Neville-te Rito says Walmart has revealed that 10 percent of its online sales come from shoppers who are physically present in the store. Customers notice the interaction between online and offline, she says: “I think we all know that a great app will not make up for a crappy instore experience.”

Non-retailers like Uber are also having an effect on consumer expectations: “That philosophy of being able to interact on my terms has fundamentally disrupted retail,” says Neville-te Rito.

Key trends she shared include:

  • Total retail. Neville-te Rito foresees increasing tension between ‘rational’, ‘functional’ and ‘emotional’ arms of any given retailer’s management staff as the business seeks to achieve a seamless, holistic retail ecosystem. She gave Warby Parker as an example, praising its perfect brand execution.
  • Digital convergence. Retailers are discovering new ways to integrate digital elements into physical stores, and finding cost-efficiencies so as to invest more into customer experience elements. Sephora was Neville-te Rito’s example here.
  • Enriched engagement. Authenticity, meaning, personalisation and ethics will become increasingly important. Peloton and Muji were listed as key examples.
  • Social community. Consumers are seeking meaningful, ‘trustful’ experiences, and the chance to feel like part of a tribe. Neville-te Rito feels Lululemon and its competitor Stylerunner do this well.
  • Useable data. Companies are increasingly allowing customers to input data to achieve a more personalised, convenient service. UnderArmour tracks training behaviour to recommend other products, and also uses the information to make better inventory decisions.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Macpac has created an online megastore

  • Technology
  • September 13, 2019
  • The Register
Macpac has created an online megastore

New Zealand outdoor equipment retailer Macpac found its website wasn’t keeping up with its $10 million plus international expansion, so it’s invested in a new site which introduces new content, accessibility and a frictionless experience.

Read more

Pak'nSave wins August's Ad Impact Award

  • News
  • September 12, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Pak'nSave wins August's Ad Impact Award

August was an amazing month for advertising and choosing a winner of the Colmar Brunton Ad Impact Award was a difficult task. This month, the honour goes to PAK’nSAVE with their latest advertisement ‘Saveyest Country’, which uses their classic stick man to show how New Zealanders are saving, not just at PAK’nSAVE.

Read more

Spark’s new concept store at Westfield Newmarket

  • Design
  • September 12, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Spark’s new concept store at Westfield Newmarket

When Westfield Newmarket opened, telecommunications company Spark took the opportunity to launch a new concept store which prioritised innovative technology and an immersive retail experience.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Trust the process: Is there still a place for liquor licensing trusts?

Liquor licensing trusts are a unique corner of the retail market, but is the model still relevant in our fast-changing business environment? Sarah Dunn weighs ...

Sponsored content

Recruitment with a fresh frame of mind

Frame Retail is the recruitment agency with an eye for fashion retail.


Kathmandu becomes Australia and New Zealand’s largest B Corp business

  • News
  • September 11, 2019
  • The Register
Kathmandu becomes Australia and New Zealand’s largest B Corp business

Listed outdoor goods retailer Kathmandu has secured B Corp accreditation, making it the largest business of its kind to have done so in Australia and New Zealand.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit