The shopping revolution is in full swing: shoppers are now more individual and demanding in their shopping choices than ever before. The convenience of ‘any-time’ internet shopping together with competitive prices and a vast choice of products is making it even more important to have shopping savvy.
With the latest figures from the IMRG beating even the most optimistic predictions - now £7.7bn, a 54% increase in revenue and approaching a quarter of a million parcels delivered in December alone - it is clear that internet shopping is now habitual amongst consumers. What does this mean for the future of High Street which is now faced with the challenge of competing with the improved convenience, choice and better prices of online shopping?
“The High Street represents, in many cases, the central hub of our communities, so its demise could quite possibly affect the social fabric of our society” says Shiran Liyanage, IMRG e-Retail spokesman and Director of SeeK.net, the publisher of UK’s largest circulation internet guides. “Internet shopping was never about replacing the High Street - it’s about customer empowerment, consumers now choose what they want as against accept what they are given”. With the internet revolutionising shopping by redistributing custom to smaller businesses and empowering shoppers to be more choosy and comparative, the High Street’s biggest challenge is to embrace this change and realize that the internet is actually an extension of their reach, representing an omnipresent counter in all their stores, not a replacement. “Corporate retailers need to accept that they can no longer control consumer spending habits through demographics, branding and stock availability. Competition is now on a global scale and researching online and buying in store or vice versa is becoming habitual amongst consumers. Indeed, it can be argued that the internet is driving business to the High Street: empowered consumers may demand more, but, if they sense value-for-money, they’ll spend in their droves, i.e. a proliferation of the ‘Primark’ effect of cheaper goods, but fuller baskets.”