‘Retail Apocalypse’, or Growing Pains?
The words ‘High Street Crisis’ are becoming increasingly prevalent. New research indicates that the top 150 UK retailers have 20% more store space than they need and can afford (BBC), and shops such as New Look and Carpetright have had to restructure deals with landlords, closing hundreds of shops between them as a consequence. Springboard surveys showed a record high shop vacancy rate of 10.8% in July 2019 – the highest it has been since January 2015.
The traditional model of retail is outdated, and many high street stores are shutting their doors as more and more consumers turn their gaze towards online shopping. Convenience is a key factor of consideration, and our fast paced interconnected world is starting to have a tangible effect on businesses who fail to adapt. In this article, we will be taking a look at the current retail landscape, and how traditional high street retailers can refine their approaches to encourage repeat purchases and foster more customer/brand loyalty.
So, what’s happening?
Shopping habits are changing, and retailers are struggling to stay afloat in the midst of the meandering consumer landscape. There has been a notable rise in online spending, with October ‘19 internet sales making up 20% of total retail sales (ONS), however, that’s not to say that retail businesses cannot adapt to these changes. Retail isn’t dying – these are just growing pains for the industry.
A catalyst for the so-called ‘Retail Apocalypse’ is the ever-evolving nature of consumer expectations and wants that businesses need to keep up with. The online shopping experience is seamless and easy, thanks to the new technologies aiding online stores in creating bespoke shopping experiences for their users. Online retailers are now providing consumers with hyper-accurate purchase recommendations based on their browsing habits, which plays a big part in meeting the needs of the modern day consumer.
The online retail giant Amazon does this especially well by applying machine learning and data analytics to their customer data, allowing them to identify the most relevant promotional offers for their users. Doing so results in a more personalised service, resulting in stronger customer loyalty and higher chances of repeat purchases.
How can retailers adapt?
Even though times are tough for high street stores, the shop window of opportunity is still open for retailers. Many see physical and online as two opposite ends of the spectrum, but combining traditional retail with digital technology is one of the keys to surviving in today’s high street. Consumers want to be able to view products online, try and purchase them in-store, and give their feedback on social media – in other words, engage with a brand on all levels.
Businesses can look at ways of implementing in-store tech as a means of offering an improved customer experience. Sophisticated digital shopfront system keep track of purchases and gather data relevant to the buying habits of customers. With this information, shop owners can tailor their service to their customers on an individual level. This data can aid business owners in recommending relevant products and promotional offers, which in turn creates loyal customers and more brand engagement.
More than half of consumers (53%) say that the ability to upload a photo of a till receipt to claim a promotional offer and receive an instant notification email within 15 minutes of claiming would incentivise them to participate in a promotion. Using technological solutions such as digital receipt validation can ensure a convenient redemption process, which simplifies the customer journey and makes rewarding your customers a more efficient process.
A solution in the digital age
SwiftReceipt is the fastest digital receipt validation service in the UK. The platform allows you to run a promotion without the need for outdated on-pack codes. This clever technology allows your customers to easily upload a photo of their shopping receipt to your own dedicated microsite. SwiftReceipt’s technology then instantly validates the receipt and your customer is rewarded in minutes.
SwiftReceipt gives your customers the instant gratification they crave. The solution ensures that digital rewards are received within an hour, and that physical rewards will be dispatched within 24 hours via their in-house fulfilment service. Visit the SwiftReceipt website to learn more about the benefits and how the platform works before getting in touch with the helpful team.
With this being said, SwiftReciept is the remedy that the decaying high street experience is looking for. Not only does it boost interaction between store and customer, but it makes the entire shopping experience more attractive with the promise of additional rewards in return for customer loyalty. With SwiftReciept, your business will be able to both reward customer loyalty and rival the streamlined approach of online shopping which is attacking the sustenance of local stores.
The traditional approach to shopping may well be an overdue an overhaul but it’s nothing a bit of cutting-edge tech can’t handle!