Bridging the gap between online and in-store can help fight footfall decline

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With the British Retail Consortium and Springboard revealing that footfall fell by 3.2% year-on-year in November, one industry commentator has suggested that an omnichannel approach may help assuage the pressure of declining shoppers on the streets.

Full service e-commerce agency PushON managing director Sam Rutley commented: “These latest statistics bring yet more bad news for the UK’s high street retailers, which have been facing growing turmoil for the past few months.

“The worrying figures have again been attributed to the rise of online shopping, which has without doubt permanently altered our shopping habits.

“Mike Ashley suggested last week that a heavy tax on e-commerce sales could be the solution to the high street’s woes.

“However, our own research earlier this year revealed that a massive 81% of UK consumers believe brick and mortar shops are vital to the shopping experience, and 70% enjoy the full experience of going in-store to browse.

“It also showed that 52% of shoppers in the UK believe that retailers need to offer a more seamless experience between online and offline commerce to retain their custom.

“This would suggest that there is actually still a place for bricks and mortar stores in the UK retail landscape.”

He added: “Retailers may be able to secure their future by investing in technology that enables a better omnichannel experience, bridging the gap between in-store and online.

“To compete in this new era of one-click ordering and next day deliveries, technologies such as augmented and virtual reality can also help retailers transition from a purely transactional in-store offering to one that is more experiential and personal.

“Through building this type of interaction, brands can expect increased customer loyalty, and in turn, increased sales.”

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