Website to High Street

I saw some interesting stats today in a survey by Trimble which stated that 36% of shoppers cite convenience as the key benefit of using website for their shopping, but crowded high streets and shopping centres (20%) and busy lifestyles (15%) are also driving UK shoppers to abandon the high street.

In another point, despite a quarter of respondents saying that delivery costs online were too high, 40% were willing to pay for next day delivery and 22% would pay for delivery within a two-hour slot - can't be that high then!

Ok so these stats aren't that surprising. Those that shop online tend to be last minute shoppers, price conscious and want the right product very quickly so the high number willing to pay for next day delivery, despite concerns of costs being too high, isn't shocking. The interesting part for me are those shopping online due to crowded high streets and shopping centres.

I still find it crazy that many high street outlets, who have great websites, don't learn and alter their stores to match new ways of shopping. I visited Chester last weekend, Becky took me around a number of stores and they were virtually all the same. The worst was New Look. I've never seen so much stock littered around everywhere. It was too overwhelming. You wouldn't know where to start. This, combined with a busy Saturday, then lends it's self to a cramped shopping environment with virtually no room to walk around. Why don't they learn from their environments, they must know what the bestselling products are both in-store and online to slim down the ranges.

I believe one of the reasons people shop online is because of this cramped, claustrophobic store management style. No one wants to be spend their time in a cattle market. I also believe, especially now with people increasingly shopping online, that high street shopping has become more of an event. Speaking to many people, heading out for a day shopping on Saturday has turned more into a trip which is occasional and will be joined up with perhaps a meal out. As such I believe stores should be tailoring their environments to be create more of an experience.

One of the main reasons people shop online is the convenience to view different items across different shops, quickly and easily. Why don't stores invest in computers plugged in to the internet in-store? Coffee houses are doing mega money, in some cases I've seen more queues in Costa than in Topshop. Why not set up an area to browse while having a brew? People are going to do it online anyway.

You may ask what is the point in doing that when the competitor store is just down the road? Well if 20% don't like busy town centre environments and another 15% have busy lifestyles, I would imagine people are visiting less shops per town centre visit. If I owned a shop, I would do everything I can to keep the visitor in-store. Allow people to chose a dress and if they want to view what else is available then let them, but in your store.

Becky loves a shop around but she is also conscious of me being bored to death. An area which I've always been surprised with, that Miss Selfridge and co haven't picked up on, is catering for the lads. A small area with sofas, magazines and the football on the TV, would mean the girls could spend more time in store. If they were clever about it, they could even earn some money from promoting little gifts to buy the girlfriend or even buying the magazine which they will read.



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