Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Goose has laid its Golden Egg

According to the latest Internet sales statistics from Interactive Media in Retail Group last months sales rose 55% on last year to hit £3.47 billion and they also passed the watershed £100 billion mark. The first retail internet stores are only 12 years old and WHS was one of the first and they now generate more sales a month than all the West End of London stores do in a year!

When the Internet first appeared most retailers shunned it, said it offered little return, was risky and pointed to Amazon and said no thank you. The booktrade was no different and although WHS was followed by the other chains the effort was often half hearted. We must remember that WHS actually bought up The Internet Bookshop, a very successful starter and one that offered a clear brand but then merely merged it into their offer and lost its real potential to take on the likes of Amazon. Many accountant would lok at Amazon and see one goose and not see the golden egg let alone undersand the positive cash flow, global branding and potential marketplace they were building. Today Amazon is everything but a publisher and owns mobibook, booksurge, marketplace etc.

So what about the traditional retailers? IKEA and Topshop have joined the party this last year. Travel now accounts for the largest consumer spend with the likes of and The largest retailers are Amazon, Tesco, Dell and Argos.

What will the next 12 years offer? Who will dominate this landscape then and more interestingly what business models will porevail.