E-Retail and the High Street must co-exist to thrive

By Jeremy Michael

Too often, retail commentators and brand managers are drawing battle lines between online and in-store sectors – asking the retail industry to pick one over the other. The real challenge for decision makers is ensuring a seamless brand experience across online and in-store offerings, as both are here to stay.

Yes, online shopping has made inroads into high street profits, but it is developing a new purpose. More customers are using both the internet and the high street to make purchasing decisions – with consumers initially visiting the store and then purchasing online or vice versa. This is facilitated by the proliferation of mobile devices and readily available Wi-Fi in-store. Many forward thinking brands are already responding, for instance Marks and Spencer’s has installed free internet and collection points in store to enhance the overall customer experience.

Providing customers with a seamless multichannel experience is important with customers needing to have a better understanding of the returns policy from purchases made online or in-store. It cannot be one or the other as customers are looking for consistent brand values across all channels. Delivering excellent customer service, regardless of channel, will increase spend and improve the chance of customers returning and recommending in the New Year.

About the author

Jeremy Michael is Managing Director at SMG UK. Service Management Group (SMG) is a forward-thinking research agency conducting store-level, ongoing customer experience measurement and analysis in more than 90,000 locations worldwide. SMG integrates this customer research into actionable business intelligence and service improvement tools for retail, restaurant and service-based companies, linking results to financial performance.

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