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