in eCommerce, Publishing, T'interwebs

Interviewed on SkyNews about “Mega Monday” or Cyber Monday

So, then, to 4 Millbank to be interviewed on the 7pm SkyNews bulletin about CyberMonday (or, being British, “Mega Monday”).

Appearing on SkyNews at 7pm

Appearing on SkyNews at 7pm

I was called this afternoon to ask if I’d be willing to appear and comment and of course the answer was ‘yes’. Then I started to feel nervous!

I don’t recall much about the interview itself – I was in a dark room, staring at a focus point and desperately listening to the question so that I didn’t burble. Intentionally, anyway.

Up earlier had been David Walmsley, Head of Direct at John Lewis, and as I’d arrived in the studio I’d thought how composed and fluid he was on TV. I decided to become more nervous immediately 😉

The studio was intriguing: not quite a ‘radio car’, but certainly a compact and lean operation, mainly focused on political happenings at nearby Parliament.

The Millbank studio for Sky News

The Millbank studio for Sky News

I’ve not been able to track down a ‘recording’ of what I said, but my intention was to cover off how the predictions for Mega Monday were tending toward the blindingly obvious, and how even a scrooge-like consumer was now running out of shopping days to Christmas. Behind the headline figures of revenues (predicted, btw, by IMRG to be £320m today, with Retail Decisions predicting that Mega Minute will be 1.31pm today, with an expected near £1m in transactions that minute), the real issue is that revenues this year will have been bought by discounting. In order to have a higher cash value of transactions than last year, therefore, retailers will need to ship proportionally more boxes – creating an additional strain on their logistics operations as well as reducing their margins even further.

Pressed on the reason for the success of the web I recall mentioning that the web was now a mature component within multichannel retail. The web is used by some 90% of people questioned in an IMRG survey to help decide on purchases made in-store. Interestingly, only 68% of those questioned said the reverse – that they needed to see goods in-store to inform their internet purchasing.

I was asked whether there was anything fundamental to the web that would make it an inherently ‘cheap’ channel, but of course there’s a need to have a capable infrastructure as well, ideally, as a traditional retail channel in order to maximise sales. I challenged the draw of the web as being “cheapness” alone, noting that customers now required service as much as price. In the US on CyberMonday, for example, nearly 11% of all shopping traffic went to Amazon.com – a combination of breadth of product, excellent pricing and exemplary, proven service.

In what seemed like an age or a second it was over and, with a polite ‘thank you’ from the producer, I was back on the scooter heading home.

The kids were pleased to see me on telly (ahh) and I’ve already had abusive texts about being fat/nervous/bearded etc – to which I just say “thanks” 😉

This is a picture of me on the telly taken with Vicky's iPhone - I'm just blinking, not falling into a trance. Honest.

This is a picture of me on the telly taken by Vicky with her iPhone - I'm just blinking, not falling into a trance. Honest.

It was an interesting experience and something out of the comfort zone. It was also a chance to get some key messages to a new audience and finally whet my appetite to enliven our plans for InternetRetailing TV. We did some experiments at our conference – see the embed below –  but I think that it’s time to be a bit more active on this front.

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