When all else fails, go digital.

Written by Steve on February 26, 2013

What do HMV, Comet, Blockbuster, Woolworths and Jessops have in common? They’ve reached their shelf life and bitten the dust, good news for Argos ey? Tragic as it is, our beloved high street brands need to be Agile and have a contingency plan in order to survive our cut-throat economy. 

People sniggered when Amazon brought their business model to the table; pegging their  strategy on a trend that hadn’t even emerged yet… well, who’s laughing now? Online shopping is booming and copycat retailers are trying their darndest to jump on the Amazon bandwagon. Now that’s forward thinking.

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It is these Amazon wannabe e-tailers that have unknowingly contributed towards a huge paradigm shift in consumer buying behaviour… Once upon a time, shopping on a Saturday meant battling through crowds, going from shop to shop, scrambling for the items you wanted come rain or lots of rain (this is Cardiff after all!). As consumers we had to trust that the retailers were giving us the fairest price- we didn’t have much choice in it really; and now what do we see? Free next day delivery, free returns, and prices to die for.

The way we shop has changed and so should the way retailers market themselves; we’re less likely to respond to messages pushed at us, instead actively seeking relevant information to inform our buying decisions. We like to research the item we’re seeking via online reviews and comparison sites to find the best deal, rather than physically going to town and blindly buying something we’re told we need. The Consumer Journey by Mckinsey goes into alot of detail about the consumer empowerment paradigm and the new model of buying behaviour.

I wang on about this quite alot, but e-tailers really do need to make buying easy; having a responsive site that is mobile friendly is the first step and having good incentives to hook consumers in is the next. Free delivery and next day delivery are huge USPs that can pay dividends in attracting and retaining new customers. Make a song and a dance out um’, offer it and they will come! It will be really interesting to see who the high streets’ next victim will be and what the current dust biters are going to do to turn their fortunes around.