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High times for the high street

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Rumours of the death of the High Street have been greatly exaggerated. Well that’s the latest thinking from two leading studies that have been put out by O2/Conlumino last week and Forrester this week. Both weighty tomes suggest that the high street is set to boom, fuelled by online’s influence through mobile and that online brands need a high street presence to flourish. Its appears to be the classic win-win.

As our top two stories reveal this week, by 2018, Forrester predicts, some 44% of in-store sales will have been influenced by the internet – and its boom time for retail as a result. Already, it says, such cross-channel sales are more lucrative than online-only sales. For every €1 spent online, €5 is spent in-store following online research. It calculates that cross-channel sales accounted for €539bn, or 31% of total European sales in 2013. By 2018, it says, they will increase to €920bn, 44% of total European retail sales.

Perhaps more unexpected is the findings from the O2/Conlumino study suggests that by 2020 three quarters of us will go to the high street for inspiration in the future – influencing 89% of all retail sales by that date. More than that, retailers need to look at how high street presence creates an overall more trustworthy brand – that attracts more online and mobile sales.

This is an interesting hypothesis as it suggests that the key to successful retailing lies in having a full omni-channel strategy that covers all bases. So what does that mean for the likes of Amazon and eBay? eBay has flirted with having pop up stores, but Amazon does very nicely out there in non-omni world.

That said, there are always exceptions that prove the rule and Amazon is probably that rule proover. In fact, one of Forrester’s recommendations include embracing ‘frenemies’ such as Amazon by advertising to gain exposure on its site, engaging with online consumer ratings and reviews in-store by offering wi-fi, ‘threading’ mobile influence throughout the customer lifestyle, whether that’s and measuring cross-touchpoint attribution throughout the customer journey.

Of course none of this can happen with out innovation – something that goes on all the time in e-commerce. And we are starting our annual process of celebrating this with the Internet Retailing Awards 2014. Nominations are open here and we want you to tell us who does it best across the gamut of e-commerce disciplines.

To help set the ball rolling you can listen to the dulcet tones of me, my editorial colleagues Emma, Chloe and Ian discussing who we think should be in with a shout this year for innovation and for mobile and in-store. Have a listen and then get nominating….

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