The British Retail Consortium has reported that total UK sales have decreased in comparison to last year, due to continued shop closures caused by the UK’s lockdown; over the three months leading up to May, non-food in store sales dropped by a shocking 50.3% in total.
However, according to the BRC, despite the amount of goods sold in Great Britain falling by 5.9% overall, food sales saw a large increase by 8.7% like-for-like with online sales and supermarket spending also seeing some pickup. Online shopping of non-food goods rising by 60.2%, and supermarket spending rising from 24.5% to 27% on the week of the bank holiday.
With many non-essential shops set to reopen within the coming weeks, the concern of reduced footfall and costs to implement social distancing measures will still have negative effects on the high street, especially after the huge increase in online sales- from 31% in February, to 62% in May- over the past months.
Will Broome, CEO of mobile technology pioneers Ubamarket, is of the opinion that the high street still has much to offer, and can provide an experience that online retail simply cannot. As an expert in retail technology, Will believes that retailers must simply adapt their shopping experience to attract more customers back in-store following the lift of the UK’s lockdown: “It is disappointing to see such sales have continued to dip over the past months due to coronavirus concerns and the UK’s continued lockdown, however, with the return of the non-essential shops slowly being reopened from June 15, there are strong signs that the future of the retail sector is not so bleak, and will soon bounce back.
“While e-commerce certainly has its upsides, physical retail has so much to offer consumers in the UK. The opportunity to visit a store, interact with the products and know exactly what you’re getting is an incredible advantage; retailers must recognise the power of what they have and work to improve and revitalise the shopping experience for consumers. However, it is important for retailers to remember that they must be aware of the safety and social-distancing protocols that should be implemented upon reopening.
“One of the ways they can do this is by implementing mobile technology features, such as that provided by Ubamarket, that will help them to give customers the option of an ‘in and out’ shopping experience, which enables customers to scan-and-go and pay within the app, minimising further contact. It also hyper-personalises the shopping experience for each consumer and gives shoppers more incentive to come in-store. Given that over half of shoppers in Britain are happy for retailers to collect their data provided that they can save money, retailers who are willing to adapt and implement technological solutions to modern problems are sure to enjoy sustained growth.”