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As the days to Christmas inevitably and relentlessly count down, be prepared to get stressed and to see more and more mentions of Amazon, the online giant that is now a household name.

Now they have topped a poll into Britain’s favourite brands, they are truly the rainmakers in retailing.

The OC&C consultancy reported Amazon had beaten regular favourites like John Lewis and M&S for ‘excellent customer service, wide choice and great value.’ Tescos dropped into the bottom five.

15 Years of Progress

It was October 1998 when Amazon launched in the UK and the growth has been both astronomical and exponential. Five new ‘fulfilment centres’ in the past five years are testimony to that.

This coming Christmas they expect to take on an additional 15,000 staff to cope with orders at eight warehouses and a customer service centre situated in Edinburgh.

Last year they took on 10,000 extra people and kept 1000 on permanent jobs at the end of the busy season. Then it was coping with orders at the rate in one 24 hour period of 3.5m items – that’s 44 items every second!

This year, expect all those figures to increase quite dramatically.

Tie Up With High Streets

But never quiet or resting on its achievements, retailing recognises that volume/market share is king. Amazon rival eBay (born in UK in 1999) has launched a 6-month trial whereby 50 eBay merchants will see their goods sent to Argos stores for customer collection.

Click-and-collect is one of the unexpected developments of e-tailing where clicks and bricks come together in joint harmony and mutual benefit. Argos already sees a third of its sales achieved in this way. eBay and Amazon offer these type of services now at pick-up points in shops like newsagents.

But this is the first a major high street retailer has teamed up with an online rival. eBay president Devin Wenig told the media that ‘we don’t think retail is dead. It is just being repositioned.’ They themselves have no plans to open outlets/stores but clic-and-collect is ‘vital’ in the new high street.

Other business commentators believe that while this may be the exact model or not, the integration of online and offline sales is the future for retail. This is also evidence of increasing customer demand for more convergence between the strands of shopping.

And what the customer demands, the customer is getting in these new times of digital expansion.

Related blogs to click on and collect:

Shopping Online or On-screen, People Still Have to Shop, So What’s the Problem? 17 July 2013

Is Tescos Going to Be Your Top Holiday Destination? 7 August 2013

Amazon Delivers Jobs, New Technology and Efficiency Besides Parcels, 11 December 2012

Amazon Is Not Yet Quite the Biggest Beast in Retail Jungle, 10 December 2012

It’s the Season to Give Away Lots of Valuable Personal Data, 5 December 2012

Hidden Charges Are the Sting in the Tail of Online Shopping, 4 December 2012