By Michael Ross, co-founder, eCommera, and former chief executive, Figleaves
The House of Cheese in Tetbury represents what I believe is the future of the high street.
It could easily have resigned itself to a slow decline as food shopping migrated online or to superstores. Instead, it has embraced the web, which last year became its biggest sales channel.
Its site is testament to the specialist, with a focus on range, convenience and expertise. Physical retail has enjoyed the guaranteed footfall and inertia provided by geography. Online provides no such comfort and internet retailers need to work much harder to have a clear point of difference.
Proposition is the new location.
No, you’re not mistaken; I am daring to criticise Amazon, the grandmaster of online retail.
Amazon gets most things perfect, but it has dropped the ball in one big regard: data. High quality product data is the lifeblood of e-tail. It should be revered as visual merchandising is offline – data enables customers to find products.
Try searching for a Sony laptop – Amazon offers over 400 from many third-party suppliers with little ability to filter or navigate (a result of its aggregation approach and consequent lack of control over product data integrity).
This is a salutary lesson for retailers trading online and a chink in Amazon’s armour for any daring to compete with it.