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Retail is undergoing a major shift. The long predicted move from high street to online is reaching what appears to be an endgame with major names disappearing from physical retail at an alarming pace.
Jessops, Comet, Blockbuster and HMV weren’t isolated examples of poorly run companies, they were the result of tectonic shift in the way that everyone shops.
In this post, I'll look at Christmas e-tailing and the likely trends over the next 12 months.
Retailers must look towards implementing digital strategies into their traditional bricks and mortar approach if they want to capitlise on the potential growth opportunities online and mobile can provide.
It's been a sad, but inevitable, week for British retail
This week, two former staples of the UK High Street hit their bottom, calling in administrators: HMV; and Blockbuster.
Added to Comet’s demise at the end of last year, the British consumer has seen a lot of household names fail recently.
In Australia, 98% of shoppers would like to buy local, but the vast majority turn to overseas retailers in search of lower prices.
Fortunately for digital High Street retailers in the U.K., British shoppers are less influenced by prices than their friends in the Southern Hemisphere according to a survey conducted by digital marketing solutions provider EPiServer.
I have realised over the years that most people are no longer satisfied with simply buying goods and services. They expect engaging experiences and want shopping to be fun.
Entertainment is playing an important role in the customer journey through concepts like gamification and pop-up shops for instance, but it seems that not everyone is taking advantage of this.
Almost everywhere in the world shopping centres are currently revamping or downsizing to survive.
Their future may not include stores as we know today, but increasingly more pop-up retailers showcasing their products or services and the use of mobile and digital technology to enhance the in-store experience.
More than two-thirds (71%) of smartphone owners research products on their mobile, with 32% doing it on a weekly basis.
But the volume of research done on smartphones doesn’t necessarily translate over into mobile conversions.
When asked what they had done after researching products on their mobile, 38% of respondents said they completed a purchase in store compared to 25% that made a purchase on their smartphone.
In response to a different question, 41% of respondents said they use their mobile in-store at least half the time they are out shopping.
The findings, which come from a Tradedoubler survey of 2,000 smartphone owners, highlight the fact that high street retailers should be trying to engage with mobile users in-store to encourage them to make a purchase rather than viewing m-commerce as an entirely separate channel.
How many times have you walked past a shop window to see a mannequin with only one arm and clothes draped haphazardly?
This has become an all too common sight on today’s British high street and one that today’s consumers are more conscious of given the increasing online retail market.
Smart retailers need to do more to enchance the in-store experience for today's tech-savvy shoppers.
TV presenter Mary Portas believes that Britain’s high streets have been subjected to decades of erosion, neglect and mismanagement, which has led them to the point of extinction, but she’s overlooking a very simple truth.
British consumers habits have changed. The UK has migrated online. To coax local shoppers out from behind their computer screens and back into high street stores British businesses need to reach customers online.
Online advertising should be the answer, but a lack of systems that work have constrained widespread online ad adoption amongst Britain’s smaller, local businesses.
Last year Mary Portas released 'The Portas Review', which set out her recommendations for reviving the high streets of Britain's towns and cities.
As we said at the time, she seemed to have a blind spot as far as the role of the internet and digital technology is concerned. In fact, the report said that the internet 'is one of the key threats to retail on our high streets'.
We see it differently: the internet is vital to the future of the high street.
In our new report, 'How the Internet can save the High Street', (free for Bronze members upwards) we explore how digital technology can be used to drive footfall to the high street, and to enhance the in-store experience for consumers.
Here are a few highlights from the report....
Aurora fashion is best known for its high street brands, including Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse, with several hundred stores across the UK.
Aurora's group IT director John Bovill was recently named as one of retail's top 70 movers and shakers by Retail Insider, and the group also received Retail Week's IT team of the year award in June.
I spoke to him about the challenges faced by retailers moving into the multichannel space and the impact of mobile and online technology as a supply and demand chain facilitator, as well as the way Aurora has been working with BT Expedite to develop an innovative integrated store system.
Rumors surfaced this weekend that online retail giant Amazon.com is secretly planning to open its own stores on high street. Citing unnamed property owners, the Sunday Times reported that Amazon "is understood to be scouring the country for high-profile sites".
The rumored purpose: Amazon wants to give its customers the ability to order online and pick up in-store. Major brick-and-mortar retailers have seen their own 'click-and-collect' services gain steam and it doesn't take a leap of faith to imagine that Amazon sees its inability to deliver a similar service as a potential threat to its competitiveness.
In a challenging market environment it’s a good idea to have a plan, especially when that plan is bold and forward-thinking.
It turns out that lastminute.com has such a plan, for the online pureplay is moving into the seemingly perilous world of offline retailing.