The latest retail sales figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) highlight the pressing need for retailers to focus on making the customer experience more innovative and engaging.
This is according to eCommerce systems integrator Tryzens, who has urged retailers to review and update their digital capabilities to weather the current storm.
Announced this week, the BRC KPMG retail sales monitor report revealed the sharpest decline in retail sales since 1995. UK retail sales fell by 4.2 percent on a like-for-like basis compared with April 2017, reinforcing the notion that the UK may see negative growth in 2018, making the UK one of the declining retail markets in the world.
Commenting on the figures, Andy Burton, CEO of Tryzens, said: "Whilst one set of analysis should not be a pre cursor of things to come, these numbers should act as a cautionary note to retailers that continued economic and geopolitical uncertainty can markedly impact overall sales. Consumers are still spending, but how, where and when they do is dramatically changing. Retailers now need to fight harder to win their share of customers' wallet and ensure that their channels are aligned with the market. At the same time, they need to make customer engagement consistent, intuitive and engaging experience for the consumer. The retailers that are winning in the market today are the ones that have perfected their digital customer engagement strategies and have agility to adapt quickly to market changes. This is because they have cracked the challenges of achieving a single view of their customers and stock coupled with a flexible enhancement delivery model."
"Consumers now have an unparalleled level of convenience and choice when it comes to shopping, allowing them to make purchases at any time from any place," Andy continued. "It's going to be very hard for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with those that offer a true omni-channel engagement, so the focus needs to be on improving the customer experience and finding more effective ways to inspire customer loyalty."
"Andy added: "IMRG Capgemini, UK's Online Retail Association last quarter reported that online growth of 15.4 percent year on year for online retailers. Therefore, it's not all doom and gloom for retailers but to succeed a focus on online/omnichannel offering is a must.
The digital revolution we are currently going through means that there are some relatively simple steps that they can take to improve their performance. Retailers never had the amount of access to consumers and their shopping data as they do today to gain insights into their target market and how their customers shop and spend which can be leveraged to improve service and engagement."
"To succeed in this climate, it is essential that retailers showcase great products, demonstrate good value and provide consistency of offers (and access to them) across channels with a strong responsive design across device types to drive sales conversion and loyalty. Additionally, retailers need to make their websites perform better than ever when it comes to reducing bounce rates, improving new customer acquisition, conversion rates and ultimately revenues. As there has never been a better time to leverage the power of digital commerce and to delight the consumer - the key is to be intuitive, easy to find and engaging! While many retailers have an eCommerce capability today, we are seeing many of our clients enhance their existing investments in technology to drive greater persistence of personalisation for customers across devices and channels" he concluded.