The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed the sharpest decline in retail sales since 1995 last month, sparking further fears for the UK retail industry. According to their figures, retail sales fell by 2.7 percent in total and like-for like in May, while online sales of non-food products grew at a rate of just 1.5% year on year, which the BRC and KPMG said was “an all-time low”.
Commenting on the findings, Andy Burton, CEO of digital commerce consultancy Tryzens, said that the results should serve as a warning sign for the retail sector, and urged eCommerce retailers to embrace more innovative approaches to customer engagement to grow their businesses.
Burton said: “eCommerce has traditionally been the star performer of the retail sector, and while online spending continues to grow, these latest figures suggest that this part of the market is in line for a slowdown. While consumers are still spending, they’re spending less, so retailers need to work harder to secure their share of the customer wallet. Just five years ago, retailers could ride the eCommerce wave and achieve significant results simply by having a relatively ordinary website that worked. But today the field is infinitely more competitive, and with shoppers not spending as readily as they have done, online or otherwise, retailers need to look at what else they can do to drive growth.
“The market is facing a wide range of challenges but it’s important to note that not all retailers are having a tough time. We have seen exciting new brands emerge and many well-established brands flourish, thanks, in large part to their successful harnessing of technology to improve the customer experience.
“Personalisation, mobile and real-time analytics are all key to maintaining a strong performing online operation for retailers, even in testing times. Data-driven eCommerce strategies mean retailers can constantly assess trading performance, respond to changes in a timely manner and enhance the customer experience and overall journey with the brand. Brands also need to think about how they are differentiating their products and offerings from the many retailers that are competing for the same market share. With consumer confidence likely to be struggling for some time to come, continued investment in eCommerce will be critical in weathering any potential storms on the horizon,” Burton concluded.