Posts Tagged ‘England’

While commerce becomes increasingly integrated by the minute across multiple channels, players in retail are faced with even larger challenges. Knowledge transfer from one consumer to another is getting super fast and possible concerns about service, price and experience spreads fast. The local perspective is becoming increasingly global and consumers no longer necessarily compares a brick and mortar store with another back home, but the standard for what customers expects today can very well be based on a unique shopping experience on a holiday destination, or from an e-commerce shop somewhere else in the world. In some European cities, for example in England, as much as 30% of the commercial areas in town centers have disappeared in recent years. The phenomenon can be directly related to e-commerce, but it is fair to say that to a greater extent due to changes in consumer purchasing behavior.

In our era small niche shops in the inner cities as well as major brands seems to stand the best chance to last in the fierce competition. Generally, players in these categories seems to be most successful in giving the consumer a good “offline experience” (Sorry for a dated expression). For small specialty shops, it is not uncommon that the reason being unique products and a high service quality. For large chains and shopping centers it is often a combination of low prices and a wide variety of products, but also more or less successful loyalty programs plays a major role in continuing to attract customers. The middle layer, ie stores that only act as retailers will increasingly appear online only.

While mobile data traffic is getting increasingly cheaper, even roaming charges and smartphones rapidly drops in price the proportion of conversion over mobile devices will steadily increase. Few if any indications pointing to the contrary. And as the convenient mobile payment solutions, so-called “one-click check-out”, and other technologies that operate sales driven, such as location-based services becomes more common, the future and function of the brick and mortars will be redrawn further. We will see more of virtual stores and other concepts such as digital showrooms in the city centre landscape.

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As a consumer, our choice to increase the norm for good service and reduction in price will put even greater demands on the industry. This is the future that the trade needs to adapt to, participants must find their USP in the era of agile commerce, and effectively utilize the available digital channels, always with the consumer experience in the center of its business model.