Why Omnichannel Could be the High Street’s Saviour
Within the past decade, retailers have shifted their focus from physical stores to an “online only” strategy. This is in part due to rising costs of owning and operating physical stores, the higher profit margins for online retailers and also the technological advances that have led to consumers being able to purchase goods from any device. However, this move to drive forward online shopping has had a detrimental impact on high street stores as the WallStreet Journal commented in April 2017 that “American retailers are closing stores at a record pace this year as they feel the fallout from decades of overbuilding and the rise of online shopping.”
It could be argued that the reason online retailers have flourished so much over the years is that they have been able to cater to increasingly demanding consumers who enjoy the convenience of online shopping but want their products quicker than ever before while carrying much lower overhead. Online retail has been able to keep up with these needs through the use of services such as next-day delivery and depot pick up but high street stores have struggled to keep up with these trends, leading to closures of stores and some brands going bust.
Nevertheless, despite seeing more and more retailers close their doors, some high street shops are fighting back and seeing the benefits of implementing the latest technology solutions as part of their ongoing strategies. According to a report by World Pay into the Role of Omni-Channel Payments in Driving Business Growth, omnichannel shoppers spend between 50-300 per cent more than consumers who use just one channel to do their shopping. This is because they have the flexibility to start shopping on one device, move to another and have every option of delivery or pickup available to them. Ultimately, retailers are rewarded for utilising technology and providing customers with a seamless omnichannel experience.
Large retailers such as Tesco have started to see a significant boost in sales since catching onto this and are now working towards providing consumers with continuity when doing their shopping. Not only this but these retailers are having to continually meet the demands of the ever-growing appeal of a fast transaction process. Consumers have started to expect the ability to choose when and how they get their products, whether it be through 24-hour delivery or a click and collect option.