Blog Post - Iain Devine, Oct 22 2015

"​Digital commerce has already made its mark on the high street – but there’s still more to come”

"​Digital commerce has already made its mark on the high street – but there’s still more to come”

By Iain Devine, Commercial Director, Salmon

As part of our recent study, British Business in the Digital Age, which explores the current and future state of digital commerce in Britain, Salmon took an in-depth look into the industries making the most of digital sales channels. One of these was the retail sector.

Here we take a look at the high street, discussing some key questions around the role of digital commerce with traditional retail.

What is the current state of play?

The high street has had a complicated relationship with digital technology, largely pinned on the availability of online shopping coinciding with the demise of the high street, but it is now at a point where it is comfortable with digital commerce. 90% of the retailers surveyed already offer ecommerce, 63% use mcommerce, 43% offer a click and collect and 43% provide customers with in-store automated ordering. As a result, the digital multichannel is currently driving 26% of sales in this sector – a figure that is set to rise to 40% by 2020.

How vital does the high street feel digital technology is?

Confidence is high amongst retailers because of the benefits of digital sales channels as a way of connecting to and selling to consumers in their living room. Mobile commerce in particular has flourished, with 63% of non-grocery, non-luxury retailers using it as a core sales channel down to its ability to collect data and target customers more accurately and to showcase an entire product portfolio.

What challenges have retailers had to overcome?

The road, admittedly, has been far from smooth with almost all retailers having faced challenges in developing ecommerce for the business. Integrating ecommerce with other sales channels (44%) and the difficulties of feeling unable to compete against dominant online channels (50%) have tested retailers.

What does the future look like?

When asked to predict how much revenue will be driven by mobile, nearly one in four retailers (23%) pointed to 20-30% over the next five years. Moreover, traditional retailers are excited by the emergence of new digital channels with 47% of retailers either already investing in the Internet of Things or planning to do so within the next five years.

All in all, retailers are seeing digital channels as an extension of their services and are ready to embrace new innovations as they develop to maximise digital sales. Mobile will continue to play a key role and businesses must ensure they learn from past mistakes to deliver an exceptional service both on and off the high street.

For more information and to download the full report please click here.