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EDITORIAL Experience-led retail: how retailers from Burberry to Halfords are balancing stores and online

Today we report as the summer sale season peaks online. The much-hyped Amazon Prime Day is now in its second and final day, while an 11 day event at Currys PC World is also coming to a conclusion. Many more ecommerce and multichannel retailers are holding their summer sales at the same time. It’s all happening online, where figures show a growing number of shoppers are choosing to buy. Visitor numbers to stores, meanwhile, continue to decline, according to the latest BRC-Springboard figures – which also suggests the importance of experiences in giving shoppers a reason to go in-store – while figures from Duff & Phelps suggest 16% of UK stores now stand empty.

In the light of those BRC figures, we highlight three ways that have worked for leading IRUK Top500 retailers from Halfords to Hobbycraft and we report on how Burberry has rethought its stores, investing further in digital-in-store, as it concentrates on offering a luxury experience from its flagship stores. Clearly it takes more to bring shoppers into store when they could so easily buy from home, or, in these straitened times, may choose not to buy at all. Giving shoppers something that they can’t get from a website – whether that’s a social occasion or a convenient way to get a job done – is a route that’s proving successful for many. 

Pets at Home is also working to improve its customer experience through offering services – this time with an investment in an app-based petsitting company whose services it will now offer to the 4.4m members of its customer loyalty scheme. This is another example of offering added value through services although in this case it doesn’t involve a store, but does provide a face-to-face experience, albeit one negotiated through an app.

Today’s guest comment comes from Steve Martin of Liveramp, who considers how brands and retailers can collaborate on data in order to improve the customer’s experience.

Images courtesy of Halfords and Burberry

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