The changes in technology and the increased use of internet for shopping have enabled customers to be more confident when making their purchases online. Particularly in the Christmas period it provides them relief from the crowded streets and shops as they can make their essential purchases online at their convenience. Most retailers as a result have inline operations to support their retail store based operations. “According to intelligence service Hitwise, high street retailers experienced the biggest online growth compared with 2005. Web hits were up by 107% at Waitrose, 50% at HMV, and 25% at Marks & Spencer” (Knights, 2007)
The report also revealed that the growth figures were highest for Marks & Spencer that faced almost 70 percent increase (Knights, 2007) in its revenues from online operations. (Knights, 2007) However few like John Lewis, Harrods, House of Fraser and Sainsbury’s have a highly developed online shopping portal for their target market. “Hitwise has revealed that retailers such as Marks & Spencer Group PLC (M&S) and John Lewis Partnership PLC were among the top online performers in December 2006. According to the figures from the online tracking service, it showed that M&S visits were up 25% year-on-year in December 2006 and with John” (‘Christmas boost for online visits’, 2007) The retailer has made use of strategic pricing, sales and discount based strategies for its online operations as well. “Debenhams and M&S both offered cash discounts during the pre-Christmas season. MS became the third most visited web site on November 19, with an average visit times of 11 minutes.” (‘Pre-Christmas online sale boost’, 2008)
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