This article first appeared in City AM.
Next month, it will be 24 years since Jeff Bezos established Amazon. What began as an online book store is now the world’s largest retailer, one that has set new standards for customer service and is constantly looking to improve.
Change has been quick, but the writing has been on the wall for a while: traditional retailers must change their thinking. Tech is sweeping across every industry and consumers have become accustomed to convenience and personalized experience online, and so last week’s news from House of Fraser is just the latest reminder that retailers need to pivot in order to survive and remain relevant for their ever-demanding customer.
The truth is, it’s no longer possible to separate the digital and physical experiences of shoppers. The companies that are winning in this climate get that retailers need both an offline and online presence to attract, inspire and excite its customers.
Offline presence remains crucial in driving brand awareness and loyalty; however, the traditional department store needs to adapt its model. Stores need to find ways to drive experiential commerce experiences that are constantly changing, relevant, and “cool”.
We are already witnessing companies like AppearHere create alternative solutions for brands who need a physical presence short term to drive awareness. Retailers need to be smarter in adapting to the technological advancements happening around them for us to continue to cherish the British high street.
The lesson for retailers isn’t to do online better, but to up its game across the board.
For journalists in their professional capacity only. (Personal opinions may change and should not be seen as advice or a recommendation.) We do not offer investment or tax advice. Issued by Octopus Investments. Octopus Ventures is part of Octopus Investments Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 03942880. Issued June 2018.