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EDITORIAL How do retailers respond as fewer shoppers visit stores?

Image: Fotolia

Image: Fotolia

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we report on what retailers of all sizes are doing to boost sales at a time when visitor numbers continue to fall in store. The latest figures from the BRC and Springboard show that the number of people going into stores fell by 1.7% in September – and overall by 10% in the last seven years. So what do retailers do about that? It’s a question that’s always important but assumes fresh significance at this time of year as peak trading season looms.

Harrods’ latest figures suggest that it has invested further in ensuring that its own flagship store is a more luxurious place to go than ever. It’s put money into its in-store boutiques and in its current financial year has invested in its beauty hall. Nonetheless, one analyst suggests the retailer must not forget about the potential reach that online offers to those shoppers who don’t visit the store regularly. 

Superdry’s Julian Dunkerton – now reappointed as chief executive until 2021 – says he’ll be revisiting the retail basics, which include exploring the full potential of online, and focusing on customer-led design as he aims to reinvigorate the label that he founded. 

Meanwhile, H&M is looking to the circular economy as it taps into new customer eco-expectations, and both Esprit and Ahold Delhaize are looking to machine learning and automation to help them boost sales. 

Vital to peak trading – which this year coincides with peak Brexit uncertainty – is how retailers display their products online and across sales channels, as Katie Woodhead of Attraqt reminds us in today’s guest comment.

A final word of warning comes from the latest Forter research, which suggests that multichannel services and customer accounts are fast becoming the target for fraudsters now less able to attack the payment methods themselves as security has improved. 

Image: Fotolia

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