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Latest Issue: May/June 18

BRC retail figures comment

Despite the latest figures from BRC revealing UK shopping patterns remain mixed, as we continue to navigate through unchartered waters, it’s not all doom and gloom for retailers. Whilst the retail landscape continues to operate in an incredibly competitive, and often volatile, space, retailers in fact have an incredible opportunity to reinvent themselves.

Life used to be simpler, customers wanted good customer service, a decent look at the products on sale and a relatively pain free transaction. But with an increasingly digitalised world comes greater opportunities, and it is the personalised experience online retailers are able to bring which will help struggling retailers to excel in challenging times. The data ecommerce sites have access to – products viewed, time spent browsing, devices used – has opened up new understandings of shopping behaviours. Why? Because gleaning insights from data enables retailers to deliver the convenient, interactive and personal experiences consumers have now come to expect.

In recent years, it’s clear the relationship between retailer and customer has and continues to change irrevocably. Online natives have been born into a world where they’re able to know exactly who their audience is, how they behave on their website and how they browse between competitors. This means those retailers who can create multi-channel experiences by seamlessly linking online and offline will be best positioned to capitalise on the new, digitally driven path to purchase.

However, in an attempt to keep people physically on the high street with new technologies, retailers need to consider the impact that introducing digital experiences in-store will have on its business. For example, with high street supermarkets incorporating banks of tablets, which allow customers to buy online whilst in-store, does this spend count towards their online revenues or in-store revenues? Whilst marrying the world of online with brick-and-mortar can have its perks, it can also have its drawbacks. As digital transformation is a journey it’s important to remember that retailers are not going to get there overnight.”

Gill Holloway is Sales Director of Insight UK where she works with the likes of Tiffany & co, Ralph Lauren and Coca Cola.