Every headline I read at the moment seems to be more doom and gloom from the high street, detailing another retailer collapsing into administration. Even at the height of the economic downturn in 2009, when retail expenditure fell by 3.3% compared to the 1% this year, we did not see such distress from the High Street brands. This does beg the question, why? One article I read this week, debated whether the advent of online had contributed to its demise, and on the surface it certainly seems that way with e-tailers like Asos, Amazon, The Hut Group and Play continuing to grow their market share. What about the other 80% of successful High Street brands? They have evolved to integrate bricks and mortar with online and mobile, adopting a truly multi-channel strategy. Take Argos, Marks & Spencer and Next for example, they offer a reserve and collect service which has proved so successful that now Tesco and Morrisons are following suit. Debenhams are trialling online shops in-store to give shoppers in smaller stores access to the full range of products and not only that, they also offer shoppers the chance to book online for an appointment in-store with a personal shopper.
Social media and online reputation also play a huge part in today’s High Street; offer poor service or a faulty product, dare I mention Habitat here, and it can quickly go viral. On the other hand, if you develop an effective social media strategy like Schuh or Lush and offer great service this can only help your brand and therefore market share.
Successful brands are also beginning to embrace mobile, sending specific offers to shoppers, sending texts when there is a sale at the local branch and releasing QR codes in -store for special discounts.
It is the brands that have quickly evolved to adopt a multi-channel strategy that are surviving the downturn, essentially making it as easy as they possibly can for shoppers to spend their money and enjoy doing it!