With Christmas shopping starting to filter into the consumer’s consciousness, it is time for high street retailers to start thinking of ways in which they can boost festive sales. The high street has suffered in recent years because of online shopping, which many customers find easier and quicker, and an overall more pleasant alternative to fighting the crowds in the cold.
However, while some customers are now online converts, one way in which high street shops can fight back is through multichannel retail. This means allowing customers the opportunity to make their purchase in different ways – in store, online and even via an app on their smartphone or tablet computer.
Some retailers are even starting to combine in store and online shopping through the installation of touch screen monitors in their stores. This allows customers to go directly to a computer to make their online purchase from the same retailer if they find that an item they want is out of stock, for instance. In the new M&S flagship store at Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port, sales staff are equipped with iPads to help out customers who can’t find what they’re looking for.
Retailers can also make use of touch screens in other locations aside from their own stores. They can be used as a means of advertising products in an interactive way, giving customers a direct link to the product and the ability to buy it before it goes out of their minds. Allowing a customer to leave a store or walk away from an advert gives them the opportunity to forget about it or change their mind – consequently, that sale is then lost.
Online retail shouldn’t be seen as the big, bad wolf threatening the high street, but this growing trend and adaptation of our culture should instead be incorporated into how high street retailers act.