20% Of UK Shoppers To Never Shop Brick and Mortar Again
New research from Swiss Tech firm Meepl has shown that 20% of UK shoppers believe they will no longer buy their clothes in brick and mortar stores, even after Covid-19.
In a survey that interviewed more than 2000 shoppers from across the UK, 20% said that due to the safety and convenience offered by online shopping, they would not return to shopping for clothes in-store, even if Covid-19 was no longer a public health concern, instead favoring eCommerce as a means of shopping for clothing.
The same survey also found that more than two-thirds of the population will only shop in brick and mortar stores again if significant changes are made to make sure social distancing & hygiene measures are being taken seriously.
The Meepl CEO said that “The retail and fashion industries have both been shaken up on a global scale because of Covid-19. Complying with measures to make your store ‘Covid-secure’ is not transformation, it’s a short term fix that won’t be enough to keep your customers happy and returning in the long term. Our survey results are an important indicator of where and how retailers need to start their transformation.”
This news comes just after EY’s future consumer index indicated that 70% of UK consumers say they would be uncomfortable shopping in a store after they re-open. Trying on clothes was a key concern for many of these shoppers, with 80% saying that it would make them uncomfortable.
“UK consumer companies will need to be aware of consumers’ heightened concerns and make every effort to mitigate anxiety if they are to prosper in this new market,” EY’s consumer product and retail partner Silvia Rindone said.
Online Discounts On Par With Black Friday
Accounting firm PwC has described online shopping sales to have reached “Black Friday Levels”, as retailers attempt to get rid of stock during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm has carried out an analysis of 110 online retailers, finding that 81% of them carried out a special promotion or sale during the second bank holiday weekend in May. This is almost the same amount of online stores that ran sales during Black Friday, the biggest day of sales for most US and European countries.
Fashion brands were discounting particularly heavily during the bank holiday weekend, with 85% offering deals of usually between 41%-60% off. This is likely because of the amount of unsold stock that retailers have found themselves with after Covid-19 restrictions left sales far below what would have been expected for Q1 of 2020. Stockpiling has become a massive issue for retailers trying to stay afloat during this difficult period, with many seeing heavy discounting as the best solution to this impending issue.
Commenting on how this might affect in-store discounts when shops re-open, PwC Consumer markets leader Lisa Hooker had this to say “It’s likely there won’t be big discounts next week and if queues for recently reopened retailers have shown us anything, it’s possible that pent up consumer demand may in fact lead to good news for retailers trying to preserve margins”.
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Social Responsibility Key To Omnichannel Sales
According to a study from Product Experience Management firm Akeno, sustainability and social responsibility are now one of the central concerns for shoppers and play a vital role in driving eCommerce and Omnichannel Sales.
1,600 business leaders from a variety of disciplines were surveyed as part of the study, which showed that 61% believe that when it comes to product information, topics like sustainable materials and ethical practices are top of the list when making purchasing decisions. In fact, the study claims that social responsibility now ranks higher than criteria such as speed, personalization, and more.
“Social responsibility is now an important criterion for buyers, so to succeed manufacturers and brands need to communicate their values clearly and consistently,” says Fred de Gombert, CEO of Akeneo. “We’re living in the golden age of multichannel distribution, and this survey shows that product information management, especially relating to ethical and environmental factors, is the key to enduring success for sellers across all their customer touchpoints.”
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The survey also found that 81% of businesses now have omnichannel capacities, and nearly half believe that social media and online ads are now their leading channels of promotion. This may have been accelerated by the move towards eCommerce that many retailers have been forced to make during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes just after the news that Google and WWF have partnered up, with the aim of creating an environmental data platform that would allow fashion brands to keep track of what impact their supply chain has on the environment.
The two companies hope to bring together Google’s high tech data analytics with WWF’s expertise in the area of raw materials assessment so that they can provide suppliers with detailed information regarding how sustainable their supply chain is, and areas to improve upon. This would include creating greater levels of transparency around sourcing locations, keeping tabs on the amount of pollution created by a company, and much more.
“It’s our ambition to create a data-enriched decision-making platform that enables analysis of the supply chain in a way that has not been possible before at this scale,” Ian Pattinson, Head of Customer Engineering for Retail at Google UK said.