Online retailers 'must hurry to cash in on festive high street rush'

Online retailers could cash in this Christmas if they capitalise on the festive high street rush by opening 'pop-up' stores.

That's according to One iota, the expert in cloud based multi-channel retail solutions. One iota CEO Damian Hanson says now is the time for retailers to implement an enhanced customer journey for the busy Christmas period.

Hanson explained: "A recent study suggested that just 9% of all UK shopping is conducted on the web suggesting that online retailers are missing out on over 90%[2] of the potential market. With new technology they can now open themselves up to a much larger marketplace during busy periods.

When we launched our chip & pin enabled kiosk SmartPod we were overwhelmed by the response from online retailers, who were keen to explore the opportunities the platform opened up to them on the high-street. Whereas traditionally they would need to open large format stores, with high stock levels at a high cost, new technology such as SmartPod enables them to offer the same stock range with low over-heads and less risk."

The use of technology in-store can result in massively reduced floor space requirements as referenced recently by Marks & Spencer who are rolling out new format stores that have a strong focus on technology.  Additionally the use of kiosks, like SmartPod, for use in pop up stores has great potential as seen with recent pop up stores announced by Amazon and Lacoste. Leading online retailer Very.co.uk also launched a pop up store a V-Festival where shoppers could shop directly from their tents with one-hour delivery.

Hanson added: "Online retailers are now able to exploit the increase in high street footfall associated with the busy festive shopping period with temporary 'pop-up' stores. Christmas 2011 saw a 30% rise in online retail[i] on the previous year and many analysts are predicting there will be a bigger increase this year. However online retailers can ill afford to rest on their laurels in the current economic climate and new technology means they now have the opportunity to drive even bigger festive profits."

Whilst new multi-channel retail technology opens up opportunities for online retailers Hanson believes it could help high-street shops generate greater profits not just over Christmas but also in the long term by providing an enhanced shopping experience.

Hanson explained: "Multi-channel kiosks such as SmartPod can create a frictionless shopping experience with significantly increased check-out capacity with massively reduced queuing time, allowing retailers to convert more browsers into purchases.  This trend places greater emphasis on all retailers providing a compelling retail experience that enables consumers to shop however they choose."

[2] Retail Fraud Study 2012

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