We recently heard the news of brands like BHS and Austin Reed, which remained on the high streets of London for more than 200 years, having to shut down. There has not been an increase in offline retail revenue in the UK for a few years now, after the arrival of eCommerce into the world.
UK is the world leader in eCommerce’s share of total retail sales. Online sales make 15-20% of the total retail sales in the UK, whereas it’s only 7% in the US. Consumers in the UK have fast embraced the digital way of shopping and are forcing the sellers to make things easier for them.
Although online is performing great in the UK, we witnessed closing down of several big retail names because of the fact that they fell behind in terms of utilizing technology to their advantage.
They have not yet adopted the omnichannel way of selling and that is where UK needs to focus on if they want the high streets to be as alive as ever.
How can UK offline sellers increase their sales?
You must have a website. It’s true that brick-and-mortar stores will not go obsolete. But, their existence depends to a large extent on their visibility on the internet. Most people prefer to browse online to see the products and variations that you have and then come over to your shop to check them out.
Customers compare prices online and do a research on the products before actually going to the store. So, as long as you don’t develop your website, apart from having an offline store, you are definitely losing out on your customer reach.
Build trust through your website
It’s extremely important to manage the website you made in the right way. Reaching out to consumers, answering their queries without fail, maintaining complete transparency in terms of delivery, returns, costs, etc. will help build trust and brand affinity.
Delight customers with superior services
One of the areas where online sellers make the cut is by delivery of products at the customer’s doorstep. This is a big-time convenience for the shopper and thus he prefers to buy online. What this indicates is that if offline shoppers go one step ahead and be ready to deliver products on the same day of shopping, customers would start to think in their favor.
Even biggies in the US, like Walmart have partnered with Uber and Lyft to provide grocery delivered to the customers on the same day. They began adopting such methods on facing a decrease in footfall in the store. There are startups, like Shutl in the UK, that deliver products within 90 minutes of purchase.
Customers today look for an experience, rather than simple shopping when they come to stores today. There has to be a real driver for customers to come into stores. This is where UK retailers have to really work on.
Analysts say that UK retailers lack the omnichannel experience given to customers. Sellers can adopt multiple ways to make their store be much more than a usual shopping destination.
Working on the interiors of your store would be the first step towards this. Designing a store which would undoubtedly entice people to walk in always works.
For example, Bonobos is a US fashion brand. What makes Bonobos different from other fashion stores is that their physical stores are only meant for showrooming, and not for purchasing. Customers can try out clothes from the store along with getting good fashion advice, and finally they get them shipped to their homes. Customers are extremely impressed with their customer service and the idea of not having to carry back whatever they shopped.
Sales personnel educate customers
When someone comes to purchase at your store, you have the option to impress the customer by providing them great service and education about any particular product. This can’t be done online. The sales personnel have to be trained adequately in order to give customers the right advice so as to help them make the right choice. At the same time, they should take care not to suffocate the customer with too much interruption while they are trying to purchase something.
Make checkout easy
The most burdensome thing that customers go through while shopping at a store is the checkout queue. People generally wait for a long time there. This is definitely something that could pull people back from buying offline. Finding a solution to this will undoubtedly help.
For example, Apple stores have completely eliminated checkout counters. There, salespeople have handheld smart phones using which they handle the sales transaction and send the receipt to the customer via email.
- Know your customer
The most significant advantage that an offline retailer has over an online seller is the personal relationship you can build with your customer. This can go a long way in bringing them back to your store if you provide the right ingredients to please them.
UK retailers need to realize the significance of the omnichannel concept in today’s retail scenario. Integrating your offline and online channels will boost your sales more than expected. Using technology wisely will unarguably surprise you with its outcome.
Primaseller helps you create a platform to do omnichannel marketing . We integrate your online and offline channels of sale and operate them as one single system. This helps you view your entire business from a single panel and simplify the entire process of business management and boost your sales.