There is no doubt that the e-commerce landscape has dramatically changed how retailers, commercial property developers and investors have had to approach business in recent years. With online sales eating into a rising share of retail sale volumes, the ‘threat of the cyberworld’ should not be seen as a negative thing, but as a major opportunity for shops to grow their business in new, innovative and exciting ways.
According to recent figures by the BSCS, online retailing is growing 26 times faster than the high street. This is hardly surprising when considering that any individual can buy goods from their laptops, tablets, mobile phones and even television boxes. As a quicker, easier and more convenient process, consumers like to scroll through goods and buy in the comfort of their own homes.
Industry analysts may use scare tactics and talk about how the high street is therefore doomed, but the cybersphere has actually opened up a portal between supplier, retailer, employee and customer, all with just a click of the button. This growth will also offer buyers and investors to accurately detect the demand which is out there before looking for properties on online sources such as PropertySales.
In this digital age, retailers must change their approach about how they use their floorspace. Through a multi-channel sales operation, they need to take advantage of the consumers clicking away, while also making sure that their physical floor space does not remain empty and stagnant.
For example, a business may choose to use their physical retail space on a grander scale as a showroom. Many consumers who have seen the products promoted online would want to see the items physically and in their hands. Consumers like to touch their goods before they invest money into them. Therefore, the goods will reach out to a wider online audience and customers can then view and pick up the items in the physical stores.
Furthermore, the online world is never going to replace the ‘shopping experience’. Many use getting out of the house and strolling in a shopping center as a relaxing and therapeutic experience. Also, there are many products that customers would want to only buy in a sensorial environment, such as fashion and footwear. This means that retailers must deliver a fulfilling experience when the shoppers actually get there.
There are many other options for retailers to consider in order to keep consumers flocking into their stores. The BCSC report highlights that car parking, easy transport access, improved customer service and Wi-Fi availability in stores are all factors that encourage an increase in customer footfall.
In this modern world, the Internet does not have to be a sign of despair for retailers. When implemented properly within a multi-channel business plan, the digital world can open up a myriad of opportunities, while physical retail units can be adapted carefully to still fulfill customer needs. It is this hybrid that will eventually guarantee positive fortunes.