More people than ever are turning to their screens to shop. By 2023, eCommerce will account for 22% of global retail sales. This year, global retail eCommerce sales will reach $3.45 trillion (£2.8 trillion) with 13.7% of global sales occurring online. And this trend will only increase. In fact, some people estimate that by 2040, around 95% of purchases will occur online.

In light of these trends, it’s more important than ever for retailers to adapt to the changing market and provide excellent online customer experiences. But some are much better than others at doing this. Let’s look at some famous examples to see where they’re going right – or wrong.

Retail fails

The past couple of years have seen the fall of some long-standing companies, driven by their inability to adapt to changing consumer demands. It also doesn’t help that the costs of running a high-street store are growing, with landlord pricing putting a strain on thousands of businesses each year. These factors have created the perfect recipe for disaster in a number of companies.


One of the largest, most well-known brands in the UK went into pre-pack administration in 2019. This affected all 165 department stores under the brand and over 25,000 employees. However, the factors that led to the company’s failure aren’t new. In fact, Debenhams has long operated with strategic drift, maintaining a business model that no longer reflects the needs of the market. Customers were moving online, particularly for fashion, and they did not adapt. 

Department stores

Debenhams is part of a larger trend of failing department stores. When these go bust, it has knock-on effects for the brands they house. For example, the collapse of Debenhams and House of Fraser led to significant losses for Coast, owned by the already struggling Karen Millen brand. Pretty Green, a fashion brand owned by Liam Gallagher, called in administrators in 2019 after the collapse of House of Fraser and their inability to recover from the loss of £500,000.  


The supplier of pop-culture merchandise, DVDs, CDs, and video games has struggled for years navigating a market where most of its products are available online to consumers with greater convenience. With the rise of streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Prime, and iTunes, there was a weakening demand for HMV’s products. It’s reminiscent of the fall of Blockbuster after Netflix and LoveFilm took the market by storm. 

Retail wins

It’s not all bad news in the world of retail. Some companies use changing consumer behaviour to theirs and their customers’ benefit. 


The most notable success story is Amazon. The company started in 1995 selling books. Cut to today, the eCommerce giant sells almost anything at the click of a button. From the start, they have been innovators. They’re continuing to lead the way in eCommerce with Amazon Go, and even developing Prime Air – a future autonomous delivery system which uses drones to deliver parcels. They claim they will be able to get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. 


In 2015, beauty brand Sephora launched the Innovation Lab. It’s a place to build, test, and develop new customer experiences marking a new phase for Sephora. It has allowed new innovations like allowing customers to try makeup on in virtual reality. 


Apple is one of the best examples of effective marketing there is. Their consistent release of new tech products with huge levels of marketing continue to drive thousands of customers to their websites and stores. Everything about Apple is an experience; unboxing, purchasing, and even visits to their store. Apple is right up there with Amazon as one of the biggest companies in the world because they have mastered the digital customer experience.

With more consumer demand being directed toward eCommerce, it’s imperative you find sophisticated ways to produce excellent online customer experiences. The retail market is volatile, and only those who can adapt will win. 

If you want to provide brilliant customer experiences, you’ll need an eCommerce platform which supports your future growth plans. Shopit is a truly scalable platform, streamlining your vital processes making the shopping experience effortless for your customers. Visit our website to see our range of impressive features. 

Fleur Underwood
Fleur Underwood

Fleur is a marketing enthusiast and writer, and an integral part of our own digital strategy.

In supporting our clients with marketing tips and ideas, she also writes about how Shopit can improve so many businesses