Hoskyns has launched a pilot computerised “deskshop” facility for its own staff, to test market demand for shopping from the office. An on-line supermarket facility, linked to Food Ferry, a home-delivery operation will allow staff to order and buy food over the phone, by fax and through the computer system.
This move comes after research by Gemini Consulting and sister firm Hoskyns, which predicts that electronic commerce is going to revolutionise the way we spend our leisure time and the way we shop.
“It means that you can go down to the pub and order your weekly shopping from a kiosk,” said Lee Eskholme, executive director at Hoskyns, the UK trading arm of Cap Gemini Sogeti. “If this does happen, a pub will become a retailer. The technology is there, but people are unsure about how to do this.”
The survey, Exploring the Electronic Shopping Industry, claims shopping via electronic commerce is customer driven and that 8 to 30 per cent of the retail market will be captured by electronic shopping by the year 2005.
High street retailers will have to focus more on “shopping as entertainment”, and develop a new business and technical infrastructure, as manufacturers and distributors take market share from traditional retailers. Eventually offers will be customised to fit individual customers. Eskholme predicts this will happen in the next few months.
“There is a belief that the Internet and electronic commerce is going to create huge new income, but the issue is one of market share and who owns the customers.”