Why should you consider omni-channel retailing?

Founder of DownYourHighStreet Dan Whytock says retailers should adopt an omni-channel approach

22 Mar, 19

Founder of DownYourHighStreet Dan Whytock explains why ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers should also consider selling online

Why should you consider omni-channel retailing? 1


The high street has been suffering but, despite increasing shopping from home, high street kitchen and bathroom stores can use digital to support their businesses if they understand how it works in the retail environment.

Don’t blame the internet – make use of it to breathe new life into UK high streets!

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[Read the Editor’s viewpoint asking why ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers can’t learn from online?]

Digital can help save established brands as well as champion smaller, independent retailers.

Understanding the reasons why customers have, and will continue, to choose to shop online, and how bricks and mortar still play a role in the shopping experience, is the key to creating a strategy that gives customers what they’re looking for.

Understanding E-Commerce

Even when consumers decide to go to the high street many will have researched online first.

Click and collect buying is increasingly popular; over half of shoppers preferred in store click-collect to make a quick purchase without paying extra delivery charges, or waiting in for a courier, as reported by a 2018 E-Commerce Foundation study on UK E-commerce.

However, almost half of UK independent retailers still don’t have a selling presence online.

They need to find an e-commerce solution that is low cost and low risk, and which is technologically simple and comes with access to expert support if needed.

High street retailers must not ignore e-commerce as it will continue to dominate.

However, there are signs of a return to physical high street shopping.

In the same E-Commerce Foundation study, 93% of online consumers stated they also shop in physical stores, compared to 90% in 2016.

Ethical and environmental concerns are also driving consumers to change their shopping habits both online and off, with ‘near me’ searches have doubled year-on-year since 2015.

That’s good news for local kitchen and bathroom stores.

 Find an online niche

A strong online presence can boost visits to the high street by helping consumers to search by location plus the option of click and collect. For many sellers, Amazon and eBay provide a new revenue stream. However, smaller bricks and mortar retailers are likely to get lost on huge marketplaces.

Using specialised online marketplaces such as Etsy can help smaller sellers stand out and are more cost-effective for smaller budgets. Another niche marketplace is DownYourHighStreet.com, which focuses specifically on independent bricks and mortar retailers, allowing retailers to create or integrate existing product inventories quickly with ease. The site also offers extra-traffic activities such as discounted Google advertising to attract a wider audience.

Enhance bricks and mortar service

A positive in-store experience, promoting and integrating its digital channels well ,will encourage customers to use that retailer for their next online purchase.

Larger retailers e.g. John Lewis and Apple Stores use their shops more like showrooms, providing customers with the opportunity to touch, feel and try out their products, and extra customer service offerings including technical support, personal shopping and home design services.

Alongside making the most of showroom displays, smaller kitchen and bathroom retailers can also provide expertise-focused extras that support and enhance the online shopping experience.

Use data to understand customers

Social media is particularly cost-effective – retailers can analyse page analytics and activity patterns, the types of posts followers respond to, conduct polls on customer likes and dislikes, and keep an eye on competitors.

Digital helps retailers strengthen the relationships they have with their customers.

With easier, more affordable access to e-commerce, the high street can be saved and thrive in the future with more people getting their new kitchens and bathrooms locally.