Almost three quarters (73%) of UK retailers plan to ramp up spend on digital in the next 24 months, indicating a tidal shift away from “traditional” retail experiences.
Surveying 200 marketing executives from leading European multi-channel retail brands across the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany, the VoucherCodes.co.uk’s operator has revealed that over the next two years the retail industry plans to branch out from bricks-and-mortar stores.
Objectives range from meeting customer satisfaction, increasing loyalty and growing sales, according to the study by RetailMeNot, as retailers become conscious that digital investment is key to meeting consumer expectations amidst a “digital revolution”.
Consumers now take for granted the ability to access deals from one company across multiple channels, while comparing and researching products online at home and on the go.
It’s also a case of evolve or die for members of the high street commerce industry; among the leading multi-channel retailers, 88% already claim to be offering real-time promotions, while 80% allow shoppers to check in-store stock online.
A changing landscape
Holding on to the interests of customers sits at the heart of the change. In fact, customer loyalty was cited as the key motivator to increased digital spend, among 59% of retailers, while enhancing shopping experiences was expressed as a goal by 55% of UK retailers.
The majority (80%) plan to focus on developing mobile payments, while partnerships with third-party apps to promote offers (76%) and mobile app development (65%) also sit high on the agenda.
“We are still at the very beginning of a massive transformation of the retail landscape. The way consumers shop has changed, and as a result their expectations are no longer the same,” said Severine Philardeau, VP of Retail and Brand Solutions at VoucherCodes.co.uk, RetailMeNot.
However, Philardeau reiterates that the high street is still vital to everyday commerce, with 90% of sales across Europe occurring within bricks & mortar, while online sales continue to grow driven heavily by m-commerce.
“The high street experience has not lost its value and is still very important to consumers, with 90% of European sales still happening in the bricks-and-mortar.
Whilst online sales are still growing, and this is now mainly driven by mobile, we also see a general integration of technology into the shopping experience.”
“Retailers are now looking to move towards one unified omnichannel experience, finding new and innovative ways to increase footfall and drive instore sales,” she adds.