The coronavirus crisis has affected businesses in numerous ways, from incorporating social distancing into our daily routines, to many companies putting employees on furlough as a means of minimising financial loss.
Like it or not, for years High Streets have struggled to compete with the convenience and safety offered by online shopping meaning that many stores were turning to digital platforms long before the global pandemic hit.
So what does this mean for the future of shopping and the way businesses interact with their customers – both offline and online?
What the future holds for the high street
For the retail industry, any economic downturn will always result in casualties, but COVID-19 has wreaked a special sort of havoc on face-to-face buying, effectively bringing it to a shuddering halt.
And even when lockdown restrictions were first eased back in the summer, only 9% of the population said they would return to stores immediately as they feel buying online has become the new normal as fears remain over human interaction
The High Street has been fighting a losing battle for decades it would seem, first with the explosion of out-of-town retail parks with easy access and free parking and then with the huge increase in popularity of online shopping.
So with high rent costs and steep overheads, not to mention most of the population staying at home, many long-standing retailers find themselves somewhat out of the running.
And, with the possibility that thousands of potential shoppers won’t actually return to stores after COVID-19, we’re likely to see long and lasting impacts on the high street for many years to come.
The ecommerce explosion
While many traditional retailers might be feeling the pinch, online ecommerce providers are experiencing an unprecedented boom as shoppers ditch the High Street and choose to shop from home.
According to a report by the analysts Retail Economics for the law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, online shopping could more than double its share of the retail market by 2028.
The internet is also expected to account for 53% of retail sales in 10 years’ time, up from about a fifth at present, as younger people who have grown up with the internet become more than half the UK’s adult population.
People aged between 25 and 44 are far more likely to buy clothing, books, electrical goods or food online than those over 55, according to the research.
And this differing behaviour of younger generations poses particular threats for certain kinds of shops meaning it’s never been more important to take your business online.
Time to embrace the change
To say that e-commerce presents business with an opportunity to increase sales and reach new customers is an understatement – especially right now.
While the benefits of selling online have been well established for some time, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid growth in the number of companies either increasing their existing ecommerce activity or introducing an online sales channel.
It’s thought that over a million businesses use the online shopping platform Woocommerce alone, not to mention the many other options there are on the market such as Shopify and Magento.
Meanwhile, online retail sales reached 4.9 trillion USD in 2020, and this is a trend that looks set to continue in the future with growth estimated at 40% over the next 3 years.
Where to go next
As consumer shopping habits continue to evolve, more people are preferring to buy online and, even though no one knows for sure what will happen to the High Street in the future, it does look particularly bleak for some retailers.
So if you want to enhance your digital marketing strategy or want to increase the digital presence of your retail brand, Studio Coact are here to help.
We are ecommerce experts who provide thoughtful, engaging and clear marketing solutions that resonate with people around the world.
Specialising in retail web design, Studio Coact are a Liverpool based agency which is passionate about businesses fulfilling their online potential, supporting companies from the outset or working with those looking to grow.
Our Liverpool based digital marketing and SEO specialists will assess your previous campaign performance and your website’s capabilities to chart out a marketing strategy tailored to your needs.
Contact us online or call 0151 708 5813 now.