Omnichannel Retail: The Basics

Online sales have been growing steadily, year-on-year for the last twenty years. Everybody assumed that 2020 would be no different and that this trend would simply continue. Of course, none of us had any idea what 2020 would have in store, or how it would affect the wider economy and how individuals and organisations can interact with each other and do business. It was predicted that online sales would grow by 11% in 2020. Instead, thanks to COVID-19, shoppers have had little choice but to do much of their purchasing online, and it is now thought that online shopping will have increased by 19% during 2020. We can’t know what next year will bring, but we can be sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow.

What does this mean for retailers? The massive increase in the amount and proportion of online shopping means that becoming an omnichannel retailer is more important than ever before. But what does ‘omnichannel’ actually mean? For this blog, we thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and revisit some of the basics, cut through the industry jargon, and help you see why ‘omnichannel’ isn’t just another buzzword that will soon fade away.

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On a street near you: How NearSt are getting customers back into the shops

It is received wisdom that the high street is dying. Customers are no longer going to bricks-and-mortar shops, and instead are buying almost everything online. Big chains have been able to move increasing amounts of their products onto their websites, but smaller businesses simply don’t have the resources to do this, and they are losing out. In 2018, almost 2,500 stores disappeared from the UK’s top 500 high streets, resulting in the loss of over 50,000 jobs. Covid-19 restrictions haven’t been helping of course, but even without those shopping online is much more convenient, and can be cheaper, right?

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Reaping the Rewards: Things to Consider when Setting up a Retail Loyalty Scheme

In-store loyalty card

Customer loyalty is one of the most valuable assets you can have, and engaged, loyal customers can be some of your brand’s most influential advocates. As such, it is well worth investing time and money in acquiring, consolidating and growing customer loyalty. Retail loyalty schemes are a powerful and proven way of doing this, and although there is a cost involved in setting them up, it’s an investment that will pay for itself many times over.

The benefits are many, as we’ve discussed previously, but ultimately the primary goal of any loyalty programme is to boost customer retention. In addition to this, they are an invaluable way of providing you with vital information about your customer base.

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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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