Tesco’s recent 2.3% drop in like for like Christmas sales has prompted much media speculation on why the supermarket’s fortunes have changed.
However, the focus on product quality and the retailer’s discounting strategy have detracted attention from a significant shift – Tesco has halted its plans to open more hypermarkets in the UK on the back of its strong online sales, which grew 14%.
This, combined with the fact that many of Britain’s best loved retailers, such as Blacks, HMV and La Senza are now struggling on the high street, shows that high street presence is no longer key to retail success.
Retailers shouldn’t remove themselves from the high street on the back of Tesco’s results, but they should certainly take a careful look at their own strategy.
Less profitable stores in high traffic areas such as Oxford Street, London and the Bull Ring, Birmingham, alongside a strong online presence, can play a key part in raising brand awareness and driving sales. The key is to see on and offline as two elements of an integrated strategy and focus on getting the balance between them right. Ultimately, the relationship between online and offline should be symbiotic.
Mobile technology, such as near field communications and specific mobile formats, such as hyperlocal adverts, have made joining up the channels far easier for retailers. For example, through Google Wallet a consumer can now search for a particular product, follow a paid search advert to an online offer, save the voucher to their “wallet” and then redeem it in-store via a swipe of their mobile phone. The challenge for retailers now is to understand their customers, how and where they want to shop and make the experience as easy as possible.
To learn more about how to leverage mobile to bridge the gap between on and offline take a look at our whitepaper The Future is Mobile.