Online gaining strong momentum over Bricks & Mortar
We have seen a dramatic jump in online sales in May with an increase of 21.5% according to the Officeof National Statistics, who report only a comparable 6% YoY rise in retail store sales. This reiterates that shoppers want it, like it, and use it – this trend is only going to increase, with IDG recently predicting that online will be the fastest growing channel in the next five years and the BRC stating that a fifth of UK retail sales took place online in May.
There has been a clear shift in consumer behaviour as confidences grow in online shopping and we see it become increasingly intertwined in the shopping process. Online and mobile shopping is no longer just part of the ‘multichannel’ mix but the focus of it. Recent research has even highlighted that six in ten consumers are prepared to leave retailers that are unable to fulfil their digital needs. As more and more consumers use online services to streamline their lives, if retailers are to continue to reach them, it is essential that they provide a strong digital offering. After all, consumers respect and return to brands that make their busy lives easier, fitting in rather than adding on. Retailers need to react to the changes that we are seeing in consumers – no one wants to become the next Blockbuster or HMV!
Black Friday 2015 was a real eye opener for retailers. They were heavily prepared for the high volumes of shoppers in stores as we saw in 2014, however we saw the majority of sales occur online and was a real first for peak trading, but also highlighted how shoppers are moving to digital first options.
The fact that sales on smartphones jumped by 83% according to IMRG also highlights that retailers are recognising the importance of this outlet, and are investing to enhance mobile user experience. As more shoppers turn to mobile, it’s more important than ever for brands to have an exceptional multichannel offering in place. Communication and interaction are just as vital as a smooth mobile checkout and brands need to think about how they can add the ‘human touch’ to their mobile customer relationships.
As the power of e and m commerce continues to grow, retailers must ensure they have a robust digital strategy in place to cater to growing user demand. But rather than treating digitalstrategy in isolation, businesses must digitise their whole business strategy, to ensure that both front and back end digital innovation delivers true business value. Those that lag behind from fear of change must combat this to ensure they have an exceptional online offering to deliver true competitive advantage and future-proof their business.