Before the Covid 19 outbreak, the UK High Street had taken a hammering from the internet, with major household names such as Woolworths, BHS and Dixons among its scalps. And the outbreak is adding more big-name casualties to the list.
Now, with social distancing measures closing or impacting non-essential retail outlets, could the crisis lead to new opportunities in the industry?
“Businesses have had to make other arrangements to fulfill orders, but the online delivery model, such as Amazon, has come into its own and will only look stronger in the future.”
Before the Coronavirus outbreak, London Bridge Project had seen a major shift from bricks-and-mortar retail to online sales.
“Growth in technology meant that people could order everything from car parts to pizzas to their front door, with retailers such as Amazon boasting same-day delivery on many products,” explains Kemal Sidar, Chief Executive at London Bridge Project.
“The buying power of online giants like Amazon means customers have a wide variety of products to choose from, often with big savings to be made.”
“Traditional High Street retailers also blamed the lower operating costs of online operations for affecting their business, arguing that they cannot compete fairly.”
Adapt to Change
“The High Street has to provide something that complements the online offering, and not be in competition with it,” suggests Kemal.
“One way to achieve this is to focus more on the service industry and an offering that cannot easily be replaced online.”
“Let’s say that your online retail business is selling clothes. The High Street offering could be to provide ironing and sewing services, which you can’t get on Amazon.”
“As Amazon has a high commission rate, what value could you get from using the mass market appeal of the platform as a gateway to convince people to buy additional or complementary products and services from you offline?”
Kemal Sidar, London Bridge Project
“Along with the Coronavirus pandemic, the growth of online retail has changed the face of shopping as we know it,” concludes Kemal. “Instead of hammering the final nails in the coffin of traditional retail outlets, a change in what they are offering, and the way they offer it, could be a boost to business, if not critical.”