The High Street Is Changing - Is Your Business Ready?

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Published: 28th May 2013
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In the modern world of E-Commerce, money is changing hands quicker than ever and not exactly in the traditional sense of the phrase. More and more of us are avoiding the malls and hypermarkets and heading online for products, purchasing items big and small. You can get everything online now; vacations, homeware, clothes and even your weekly grocery shop. If you’re a business wanting to get online, you need to make sure that you have the capability and the security systems in place in order to accept online payments.

Over in the U.K, a SDL survey which quizzed over two thousand adults about their 2012 Christmas spending habits revealed that for the first time ever, people were spending more online than they were over the counter. 54.2% of the overall Christmas spend was spent via e-commerce websites, 40% was physically spent in store and the remainder was made up by mail order catalogue shopping and television shopping. This trend is seemingly only taken up by those of the younger generation. Of those who are over the age 55, more than half spent the majority of their Christmas budget in bricks and mortar stores.

Over in the U.S however, the increased media frenzy around hyper shopping days (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) have seen potential shoppers driven into a hive of activity by cheap prices and media hype. Those looking for a bargain on the previous year’s Black Friday spent a massive one billion dollars, the majority of which was once again spent online rather than in store.

We now live in a multi-channel shopping market where the high street is shrinking and the online market is continuing to grow. While there is still a need for the physical presence of high street stores, they are shrinking. The benefits of having a huge amount of stock in a virtual store online for everyone around the world to access is easy to see. Although it is obviously less personal, clicking through page after page before finding what we want, adding to basket and waiting three to five days for delivery – it is incredibly cost effective. Companies can now overhaul and update their lines at the click of a button and broadcast the changes to millions via social media. It’s no wonder that the battle of E-Commerce is heating up.

New grounds to fight over are constantly being developed, one of which came in a surprise result from the U.S survey which saw a drop in computer hardware sales. Why are we not buying any more computer hardware? Because we’re buying more smartphones and tablets, and what are we doing on our new smartphones and tablet? Shopping! This sparked a mass project by web developers worldwide trying to optimize websites for secure and seamless mobile and tablet shopping.

The difficulty for businesses now is how they react to this ever changing market. Do they have the developers and resources to split themselves over the two online and offline markets? Many simply won’t be able to compete with the big players online and will stick it out on the high street. While others won’t bother investing in the high street at all, and will set up an E-Commerce websites and ply their trade from there. Those who have the power to do both with have to play a fine line between getting it right in store and online – if you can’t then you can leave customers bewildered and there a plenty of other places to shop at the click of a button.

Whatever companies decide to do, the shape of our high streets are forever changed.

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