Retail is no one way street, and it has become more apparent over the last few years that the customer is at the centre. As a result of this, the upward trend in omni-channel retailing is causing brands to ask themselves: “Am I doing enough?”
In 2015, the biggest challenge for retailers will be finding ways to genuinely connect with consumers through honest and transparent means.
Phillip Smith, UK Country Manager at Trusted Shops comments:
“This year, we’ve seen an increase in UK online retailers launching into new European territories as they look to expand their businesses. Although many of these have been successful for example Screwfix in Germany or UGG Australia who launched across five European countries, many have found that just localising their website has not been enough. Instead, retailers need to see this transition as a gradual process and understand that new customers may not immediately recognise or trust their brand on an emotional level.”
For retailers, it is becoming increasingly important to listen more carefully to what the consumer overseas wants.
“International consumers are knocking hard on the doors of online retailers – we can see that 20% of UK e-commerce demand is coming from abroad.” Says Michael Kliger, Vice President International at Ebay Enterprise.
China will undoubtedly be the biggest e-commerce market within the next 18 months and every consideration should be taken for British brands to tap into the market.
“The good news for retailers is there is a strong appetite for western brands in China, and for British names in particular. The not so good news is that there will be more and more Chinese companies tapping into the European market” Kliger adds.
As Smith explains, retailers can look to market places:
“Big moves by e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba have meant that cross border shopping on market places is becoming easier. The fact that consumers can connect and already trust these brands helps drive sales, however selling via market places can be expensive. The big challenge is for retailers to make the same connection with consumers directly on their own website, by gathering the much needed social proof that is present on market places.”
Recently, there has been speculation on whether the ‘death of the high street’ is imminent but of this, there should be no worry.
“BBC One hasn’t disappeared since ITV, Channel 4 and satellite TV have been introduced, there’s just more choice for consumers. Much in the same way, we are not seeing the demise of the high street due to e-commerce, there are just more ways to shop and this forces retailers to evolve” Kliger adds.