High street downturn: is a failure to embrace mobile to blame?

The official figures of falling high street footfall released from the new Office of National Statistics’ Retail Sales Report last week have thrown a question on whether it is

the ‘beast from the East to blame, or the refusal of high street retailers to embrace mobile innovations that are driving the abandonment?

According to Amplience, 90% of ecommerce growth comes from transactions conducted via smartphones. Savvy-retailers including Amazon, Co-op and Budgens have taken appropriate steps to capitalise on ‘scan as you shop’ phenomenon to bring the convenience of the smartphone-utility with checkout less shopping in physical stores.

For some customers, the reality of in-store shopping can be frustrating when preferences and past experiences are not seamlessly connected, as they usually are with mobile-first brands. This, combined with cross-channel inconsistency and lack of personalised experience is just a tip of the iceberg of why customers prefer to shop off the high-street.

Retailers must abandon orthodox strategies to leverage the value of technology to deliver a unified shopping experience across the full spectrum of customer touchpoints.

“UK retail sales have hit a cold snap, but can it all be blamed on the weather? The sector is seeing major disruption, and it is shoppers who are driving it,” comments Chris Haines the director of consulting at Amplience. “The titans of the high street are struggling to keep up with agile, mobile-first brands who place the customer experience at the heart of their offering. These retailers offer the convenience of engaging online experiences that keep customers coming back.”

Haines concludes: “Delivering rich, targeted, contextual shopping experiences is now essential for retailers who want to succeed in a mobile-first world. More dynamic and agile content delivery platforms will help them stay relevant by delivering timely content to the consumer that matches with popular trends, seasonal requirements and their own browsing history.”

European fashion retailer, Mango is a prime example of the brand that has set to merge the two realities of the online world and physical retail, as part of the digital transformation programme. Shoppers visiting Mango’s store in Barcelona will be able to use soon-to-be-launched fitting rooms featuring a digital mirror which will allow them to contact staff directly, request sizes, colours as well as pick the recommended items to compliments the consumers’ original choice.

“Retailers are now on the cusp of a new era, driven by advances in digital technology that are reshaping consumer expectations. This technology presents retailers with the opportunity to deliver more value to customers whether in store, at home or on the move.”

“Our recent collaboration with Mango to develop an Internet of Things digital fitting room mirror will change the customer experience in store. Digital innovation like this will help retailers meet the changing needs and expectations of customers and grow their businesses”.

Photo credit: ekaphon (Fotolia)

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