High-street must embrace digital to survive, research says
Research from Worldpay revealed that independent shops embracing online payments as a counterpart to physical high-street stores are experiencing more growth than those who haven’t digitised their business.
The new data reports that independent high-street shops offering customers the chance to browse and buy both online and in-store have a year on year growth of 8%.
The industries benefitting the most from their willingness to try out tech include florists, who have experienced 8.34% growth in the past year, and bakers, who have seen an 8.7% rise.
Meanwhile, those who have not invested in the technology have seen no growth.
While some shop-owners may be worried that this will mean the obliteration of the high-street as we know it, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
The freedom to both shop online and head to the high-street to shop is the real drawing point for customers, giving them the option to check out the reviews and then head in store to check out the product for themselves.
Worldpay’s chief marketing officer in the UK, James Frost, said: “Far from killing off traditional high-street businesses, easy access to technologies like e-commerce is helping small business owners to reinvent their relationship with customers by being more flexible to their needs.
“UK shoppers still love heading to the high street, but it is not always practical, possible or convenient to do so. It’s fantastic when a regular customer pops in to see you for some advice, but our data shows that real loyalty stems from giving customers a choice.”
Worldpay concludes from their research that those ready to use digital to enhance the shopping experience for customers will see further growth due to their willingness to be flexible and move forward alongside with tech as it develops.
How can my independent small business get digital?
The research showed that money isn’t the only thing to be gained from moving with the times, as customers were also likely to show more loyalty to digitally-forward businesses.
Unfortunately, this loyalty can’t simply be bought by setting up a basic online shop and leaving it at that. Rather, it’s those who engage online with customers, create a brand tone of voice and steadily explain their reasons behind the business.
It might seem like a mammoth task that will involve a huge expense, but in reality bringing your small business into the digital age can be cheap, genuine and long-term. You’ll need to work on a combination of SEO, content and social media to make your digital business work.
This may seem like a lot of work, but for the difference between growth and flat lining, it’s an important step to take for the future of your business.
Frost added: “Tougher trading conditions emerging over recent months have exposed a growing gap between the high-street’s digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. When times are tough, it can be difficult for bricks and mortar businesses to do much to open up new revenue streams. Businesses that also sell online are finding they have far more options to offset any downturn in spending among their local customer base by targeting shoppers further afield, including abroad.”
Do you need help embracing digital? At Team Organic we specialise in digital marketing for small businesses. We work alongside our clients to ensure our bespoke marketing packages work for you. To learn more about how we can help your business, grab a free review and quote.