In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as Black Friday deals start to go live, and as research shows that closures on the high street now outweigh store openings at a rate not seen for five years. These are just two ways that retailers are responding as shoppers change the way they buy.
Today we feature an interview with Rachel Morris of The Conran Shop on why the concept of omnichannel is now outdated, and we report as a flood of retailers, from Sainsbury’s, Halfords, Game Digital and The Works, through to Superdry, Burberry and Mulberry this week shared their their latest figures - and explained how they’re adapting as their shoppers change the way they buy. The story’s not the same for all: The Works is seeing sales in store rising, while Superdry sees them falling, and Mulberry was hit by the failure of department store House of Fraser. But the overall picture is one of change, as the domination of in-store declines in the face of ecommerce and wholesale expansions, reflecting consumers’ move to shop online rather than go to a store every time, and as traders such as Game Digital prioritise experience-led retail.
Today’s retailers are working at a time of fast change as more and shoppers choose to buy online, persuaded to do so both by the convenience of the experience and, importantly, by lower prices. Retail aggregator LovetheSales.com says it has seen prices across online retail fall by 27%, year-on-year, making it a very difficult for high streets to compete with online in the last year.
All of this is presenting enormous challenges the sector adapts – illustrated in headline figures such as today’s store closure figures. Now it’s all about how, not whether, retailers cope with the change in consumer behaviour. As Lucy Stainton of the Local Data Company says in our coverage of the latest store closure and opening figures, store numbers are falling, but it’s important to make a distinction between those retailers that are managing their store numbers in order to suit the changing way that consumers now want to buy. That’s to say, between those taking a pre-emptive approach to adapt to the way that consumers now want to buy, and those who are forced to adapt - because consumers stopped buying in other ways.
Today’s guest comment is a timely one: Lindsay McEwan of Tealium considers how retailers can now use data to redesign the customer experience.