The future is bright for Omni-channel retailers

As we begin a new decade, retailers simply cannot afford to stand still – to survive they must deliver the experience that customers demand if they are going to have a successful future.

It goes without saying that 2019 was not a good year for all high street retailers. While challenging retail conditions and high business rates have played their part, there is no denying that shopping habits have changed and many retailers have simply not kept up.

One of the biggest areas of change for retail has been the usage of bricks and mortar stores. In the past, most retail stores measured success through sales made from in-person transactions. As a result, price became the key driver for retailers to attract customers and this has led to a growth in big sale events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, while these events may have delivered some short-term gains, for many it also signalled the start of the race to the bottom. With some retailers focusing on offering products as cheaply as possible, the long-term health of many businesses was severely jeopardised. Research has also shown that sale events have even been seen to devalue products and brands in the minds of consumers, the knock-on effect of this is that consumers become less likely to shop during non-discounted periods.

To break this cycle, retailers need to look at how they can improve the customer experience. Indeed, research clearly shows that if retailers are to survive over the next 10 years then they will need to focus on customer experience. With customers shifting their shopping habits and buying more and more products online, retailers need to ensure their customer experience matches these habits.

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Good Shopping

As the sector has become more professional and more specialised, charity shops are contributing to a more vibrant and eclectic retail mix on high streets.”

“This trend towards greater specialisation can enable charity shops to become destination stores, which can add value to the high streets in which they are located.”
DEMOS REPORT

It is estimated that there are more than 11,000 charity shops in the UK, generating more than £295m for a range of good causes in the UK each year.

Whilst the charity sector is not immune from the challenging trading conditions that are closing high street shops, it is undoubtedly a cornerstone of the bricks and mortar retail sector. But contrary to the popular belief that our high streets are full of charity shops, they make up only four per cent of total retail units in the UK, compared to the national vacancy rate of around ten per cent.

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