High street’s ‘digital dinosaurs’ left for dust by new breed, tech-savvy store owners, says Worldpay

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From independent florists, to artisanal bakers traditional high-street stalwarts are experiencing a retail renaissance thanks to clever use of technology, claims new data from Worldpay.

According to the payments processor, small and independent stores are seeing year on year growth of up to 8% by allowing customers to browse and purchase online as well as in-store. By contrast their bricks and mortar only peers have seen their revenues shrink in the same period.

Among the sectors benefiting most from investing in new technology:

–          Florists that provide customers a mix of online and in-store shopping options have grown 8.34% in the past year, while bricks and mortar only stores whose have seen revenues decline by 0.41%.

–          Bakers and cake shops that make it easy to order from them online have added 8.70% to their bottom line. Those that don’t have seen revenues flat-line.

Ecommerce sales have certainly played a part in fuelling this growth, but the story does not end there. In-store sales among these more digitally enabled businesses grew at a far faster rate (+2.06%) than their bricks and mortar only counterparts (-0.09%). This has led Worldpay to conclude that the increased flexibility these businesses offer is having a broader impact on customer perception and loyalty.

James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, said: “Far from killing off traditional high-street businesses, easy access to technologies like ecommerce 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.”

Shops that sell online have also found it easier to cope with the recent downturn in spending on clothing, claims Worldpay. While UK spending on clothing contracted 1.99% in the past year, online spending on clothes by overseas shoppers has grown 22.89% during the same period.

According to Worldpay, average transaction values from overseas shoppers are roughly double the amount that UK shoppers spend (£106.25 vs £51.55). And with roughly a third (30.39%) of all foreign spending on clothes now happening online, Worldpay argues retailers can ill-afford to ignore such high-value, high growth opportunities.

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 off-set any downturn in spending among their local customer base by targeting shoppers further afield, including abroad.”