High Street retailers facing up to online competition

The click-and-collect culture is placing greater pressure on High Street retailers, leaving them with uncertain futures as it is more difficult to make sales.


That is according to a new study from IMRG entitled ‘A Tale of Two City Centres’ which shows town and city centre footfall fell by 26% between 2007 and 2013.


Furthermore, all the growth experienced in the retail sector dating back to 2001 has taken place online, showing how important it is for businesses to have a capacity to buy and sell on this platform.


Basic estimates from IMRG suggest that 25,000 High Street stores have closed between 2000 and 2011 as running them was not financially viable.


With a large number of shops faced with company insolvency and liquidation, it is understandable why many retailers are following consumer trends and switching to online services.


Seeking alternative options


It is also worth noting that approximately a third of all online sales happen after 6pm, while some national retailers report that more half of online orders are collected in store via click-and-collect.


Overall, some 21% of UK retail sales are now occurring online, but the report also suggests that click-and-collect services could provide additional sales for struggling retailers.


Tablet devices are also an increasingly popular platform from which to place an order, meaning businesses need to ensure their services are available across all types of mobile platforms in order to truly benefit.


This could potentially drive further sales and ease the pressure placed on the bottom line of these firms – a factor of great importance when considering how to drive growth and expansion.


Businesses that can offer various means of purchase are far more likely to be successful, while taking advantage of social media for marketing purposes can also be hugely beneficial.


Customer expectations are changing and retailers must follow the trends in order to survive – a failure to do so could see them join the ever-growing list of those who cease to trade.


By Phil Smith


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