Right now, it’s LK Bennett and Anya Hindmarch. Before then, it was Toys R Us, House of Fraser, Staples, Maplins, BHS, Austin Reed….. when it comes to well known retail brands issuing experiencing unsustainable losses falling from grace, the list goes on and on.
The bottom line is that if you are a bricks & mortar retailer, or you are a wholesaler or distributor selling a product or brand into these ‘traditional’ retail outlets, then you probably already know retail is changing. This year there was predicted to be a 4.2% reduction in physical shopping in January alone.
Meanwhile online, ecommerce, B2C, D2C, social and digital first retail brands are seemingly coming out of nowhere: Sand & Sky, Huel, Pretty Little Things, Wunder2, Boohoo and everyone is like ‘How are they doing it?!’ They’re taking the lead and land grabbing in an new environment, in which 20% of retail shopping is now done through online through ecommerce websites.
So what to do? Talk by the government to energise local high streets is papering over cracks. Trying to stop the shift in consumer behaviour and the facts that about how we increasingly prefer to shop (ie online, where we can find more faster, without dragging ourselves through carparks and shopping centres and stand in queues) is a bit like trying to stop evolution. What’s the government meant to do – force shoppers to go down to the high street when it’s easier to discover and buy stuff online?
Yes there’s still a place for bricks and mortar stores, but looking ahead and factoring in that the % of retail shopping done online is predicted to rise to 95% over the next 20 years, never has direct-to-consumer ecommerce been more important.
In a retail environment, digging your heels in and trying to maintain the status quo will only lead to a hard game of catch up, which you may not be able to win (if time or money are not on your side) down the line. Savvy retailers are pouring money into social platforms – not even always profitably at first – in order to gain audiences, brand awareness, in order to drive revenue and own their customers and ensure their slice of the future pie.
Think of it like securing one of those corner units where Oxford Street and Regent Street meet. It’s a question of money, being in the right place at the right time and knowing that those locations are worth the investment as they will deliver over the long term. Time will run out for small and start up brands alike, the more that big brands with huge
marketing spends come into platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest.
The numbers don’t lie, consumers are changing how they shop and the media they consume is changing as well. Understanding this expanding marketplace and having the right Direct to Consumer ecommerce strategy that engages, retains and increases customer loyalty will be a winning formula for weathering this retail storm.