Consumers can fulfil their every need online, so it’s vital retailers invest.

Consumers can fulfil their every need online, so it’s vital retailers invest.

Being a bit forgetful in my age group might be forgivable. But when repetition rears its head it is time for the relatives to dust off the power of attorney for signature – unless it is a deliberate strategy to emphasise an important point.

Well, in retail nothing is more important than sales, and the biggest and best shop window to help generate those sales is web, web, web – and I make no apology for repeating my cri de coeur.

Eighteen months ago, when I banged that particular drum in this column, the web had already totally transformed the way we live, marry, divorce and die.

But 18 months in web time is like 20 years by the analogue calendar, and today it is hard to find a really successful retail business without a sophisticated and rapidly developing web proposition.

Once, a nice-looking and easy to navigate website was enough. Now, however, the quality and innovation of the offering, ease of ordering and slickest fulfilment are also vital. Quick delivery, free delivery, convenient collection, easy and effective tracking: these are all fundamentals now the web is our way of life.

And way of life it most certainly is. If I want to play chess with a long-haired Russian intellectual in Ulan-Ude or strip poker with a fresh-faced Czech model called Ivana, online it is all so easy – I am told. If the bride I met on the world wide web fails to perform to specification, then I can initiate a divorce online, no problem, in just three minutes – and all for £37. Arranging a funeral costs a bit more, but with a choice of hearse only, hearse and limousine, or horse-drawn carriage, plus flowers and a coffin of your choosing, there is something for everyone’s budget.

What on earth is attractive about jam-packed roads, parking challenges and queuing at busy tills, traipsing up and down aisles only to find those double-gusset Mormon underpants are out of stock? Why, why would you do that, when in the warmth and comfort of your own home, car or office you can check your favourite retailer’s stock position, place a bet, play bingo or watch a bit of soft porn, all online?

Having now sorted the web and generated all those sales, clearly fulfilment needs to be up to 21st century speed too, as expectations are justifiably high and soaring in the competitive, no-place-for-amateurs, online world.

In the future, wizard technology and retailers’ innovation will undoubtedly work wonders to overcome fit in fashion, grasp of scale, colour, accuracy and absence of touch and feel issues. Surely this whole flight of steps-change for retailers presents an opportunity like never before in a mode of selling still in its infancy.

If you are desperate to learn what the future holds for you, here again online can provide the answer with fortune tellers aplenty. I prefer a palm reading, personally (simply email a picture), although graphology or tarot cards may be more your cup of tea.

While not personally in the business of crystal ball gazing, what I will predict is that in this cyber age of lightning technological advancement, if you are not shovelling mega-resources into the growth and improvement of your web proposition, however good it may be, you will be odds-on (Betfred online) to run down the field. Did I remember to mention – web, web, web?

  • Lord Kirkham is founder of DFS