Recent figures have demonstrated that many retailers suffered in the run-up to Christmas as shoppers steered clear of high street and margins were squeezed by higher costs, Black Friday discounts and online shopping.
Insight UK sales director Gill Holloway was among those to comment on the figures. She said: “The latest figures from the BRC and retail analysts Springboard confirm one thing: December was a tougher month than normal for our British retailers. As we continue to navigate through unchartered waters, with UK businesses operating in an incredibly competitive – and often volatile environment – this comes as no surprise. To ensure they’re not getting left behind, retailers should be using this as the perfect excuse to reinvent themselves. How? By embracing digital technology.
“In an increasingly digitalised world there are more opportunities to take advantage of the technologies that we, as consumers, have come to depend on in recent years. In fact, it was our latest research of senior business leaders which found 9-in-10 (86%) agree that digital has enabled the evolution of the organisation and creation of new services.
“But in any 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. The overriding desire to touch and feel products before purchase cannot – as yet – be addressed properly by the online experience. Indeed, neither can the instant gratification of taking purchases home in a bag on the day. However, the way in which we achieve this is changing.”
Gill added: “Whilst marrying the world of online with brick-and-mortar has its perks, it is also clear there is still a lot of work to do. As digital transformation is a journey it’s important to remember that retailers are not going to get there overnight. And with the retail industry continuing to evolve, brands should invest in IT solutions that will help them better manage existing consumer demands and transform for future business goals.”