The latest data shows that ecommerce has caused a 5 year low in bricks and mortar store openings and is “severely impacting profitability”. Of course, this does not cause a problem if you are selling online. According to IMRG, 129bn has been spent online this year (11% up from the 2015), suggesting that the showing the ecommerce industry is showing no signs of slowing down. The fact that more and more physical stores are closing begs the question, should more retailers be considering selling via multiple channels?
Brand new initiatives
The figures seem scary. The number of stores that have closed this year, (around 2600) overrides the 2153 shops that have opened. More positively, 2200 click-and-collect points have been created, meaning either more businesses are moving online, or that more sellers are taking the time to think of initiatives to keep their customers happy. It’s not just smaller retailers who are moving into this ‘new age’. US giant Walmart (who earlier this year acquired online marketplace Jet) has said it will be investing more money in e-commerce and digital initiatives, as well as opening 130 new stores.
IMRG thinks mobile is responsible for most of this growth spurt. Two thirds of traffic now come in via smartphones and tablets, with the first being the fastest growing channel at 95%. Mobile is often associated with social media as it’s quick and easy to access. With platforms such Facebook now offering their own marketplaces, you can see why this number is so high.
Looking to the future
Adding an extra selling channel has a more positive outcome on seller’s strategies (and sales) than a negative one. Although multichannel selling comes with complexities, the extra exposure from marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay ultimately generates more revenue. The decline of the ‘physical’ high street does not have to be seen as something worrying, but rather an opportunity to expand into a whole new untapped customer base. The future seems to be online.