What does Black Friday’s online success mean for our high streets?

Shopper on high street
Published on: 25th November 2016

Black Friday is here, and retailers around the country will be hoping to maximise sales over the weekend, in a race to reach their targets for the festive season.

What was traditionally a retail event in America, Black Friday was brought to the UK a few years ago by online retail giant Amazon. Since then, British brands have been weighing up if, and how, to tackle the years’ biggest shopping weekend, where consumers eagerly anticipate big discounts on hot ticket items.

And whilst last year, Black Friday broke the record for online retail sales in the UK, in-store footfall dropped significantly. For many consumers, the ease of shopping from the comfort of their own homes, without the crowds, is all too appealing. But falling footfall is bad news for our high streets, especially retailers that don’t operate online, and the coffee shops and restaurants that rely on passing shoppers.

Bringing customers back in-store

A key way for retailers to combat falling footfall over the festive season is to invest more in the in-store experience. For a consumer, a trip to the local high street is about more than just a transaction, and retailers need to engage, inspire and entertain their customers to get them back in-store.

Interactive displays, personal shopping and good customer service are great ways to offer customers some social interaction during their shopping trip, resulting in a more rewarding experience than a cold online transaction. Having an engaging shopping environment with an innovative store fit-out can also excite and inspire customers, taking them on a journey whilst they shop, as well as encouraging ‘spur of the moment’ purchases.

Retailers also need to embrace in-store technology. By delivering a more efficient in-store buying experience, where online technologies can meet the physical, retailers can work towards breaking the perception that online is a more streamline, hassle free way of shopping.

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