Supermarkets will continue to extend conventional shopping through their web sites, according to Datamonitor analyst Shilpi Oodit, "with online shopping and interactive customer loyalty schemes, the big supermarket chains will almost be portals," she said. Tesco already provides customers with Internet access via Tesconet and Oodit predicts other stores will follow suit.
The report predicts European retailers will spend over £2bn on customer loyalty technologies by 2001 and Oodit believes supermarkets will be early adopters of consumer smart cards: "Existing loyalty cards allow supermarkets to track customer spending but smart cards will give a history of their shopping and scope for specialised electronic couponing."
Oodit also believes supermarkets will pose an increasing threat to electrical stores, especially in the sub £1000 PC market. Ray Quiney, general manager of Tempo in Croydon scoffed at the prediction: "I don't think the supermarkets will hit us too hard," he said.