The Impact of Online Shopping on the UK Retail Industry
Shopping is an ever-increasing activity where a consumer browses through the available products or services presented by a group or single retailers with the primary aim to buy a suitable range of them for use. It is estimated that more than 500 million people indulge in shopping every year and this number is growing fast with people finding it easier to access their preferred items by searching for them online. In fact, more number of people visit shopping malls in the United Kingdom every month than go out to eat. Hence, a British high street or shopping centre is packed with people at all times of the day.
High street and outlet retailers have always enjoyed a strong customer-retention position in UK but with online shopping is becoming more popular, the relationship between retailers and consumers has become increasingly soured. Many consumers are now less willing to shop in stores where they feel they have to wait for long periods or deal with unattractive display models, despite the great price being offered. Furthermore, retailers find themselves at a serious disadvantage with online shopping as they are unable to offer their customers a great choice of products or services, as can be done with traditional retail outlets. Online shopping also gives customers the opportunity to search through a wide variety of products or services from a central location and can often help them decide on a product without having to visit a particular retailer.
The UK retail industry has taken note of this change in consumer behaviour and there are many measures in place to ensure that the customer feels more satisfied when shopping. Retailers have developed many tools and features such as point of sale systems, loyalty cards, interactive shopping points and payment systems that can help improve the level of satisfaction displayed by customers when they purchase merchandise. Furthermore, some UK retailers have gone as far as providing personalised merchandise display cases for their customers, helping them remember certain brands more easily. This type of personalized retailing is proving to be a highly effective way of improving customer retention.