What’s in store for retail this year?

Retailers are having to make some tough decisions with the sector facing a long-term slowdown. A fall in real wages and record high levels of consumer debt are hitting the high streets and retail parks, and consumers are changing how and where they spend their money.


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Shoppers are increasingly likely to buy online, but they are also spending their hard-earned cash in other areas such as travel, leisure, buying takeaways online and technology. Even the way they buy food is changing, with many shoppers preferring to buy often and locally. If they are no longer doing the weekly big shop, the out-of-town superstores are feeling the pressure.

How to attract shoppers

British retailers will need to adapt to lure shoppers back to the fold. Shopping centres and high streets will need to provide extras and other experiences that shoppers will not get online. This could be the additional attraction of leisure activities such as games centres, local street markets, pop-up stalls or restaurants, and street food stalls or food trucks. At the moment, less than 20 per cent of the space in a UK shopping centre is used for leisure or dining. These can act as the magnet to draw consumers into the malls or town centres. Some of the fastest-growing retailers are vape shops, ice cream parlours and hearing aid stores. Car brands are also looking to take up space on the high street.


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Adapt to meet consumers’ needs

Many people go shopping for the social element of getting out of the house and talking to people. Retailers could capitalise on this by organising events in their store, such as coffee mornings or demonstrations. If there is enough space, a corner of the unit could be turned over to a small coffee bar, café or simply a place for people to sit down, chat and read the newspapers. Another way to keep customers is by entertaining them. This could be done by providing the right kind of music for your clients. You can find great ideas for in store media, such as music, signage and scents, from a company such as https://moodmedia.co.uk/in-store-music-for-business/.

Retailers need to keep looking ahead to predict trends and keep providing the services their clients are looking for. After all, the customer is always right.

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