Love it or hate it, Christmas shopping is part and parcel of the season but how did UK retailers fare this year? There were clear winners and losers on the high street with Debenhams so far taking the biggest hit with like for like sales 5.7% down in the 18 weeks to 5th Jan. You may remember a blog I published this time last year (You can read it here) discussing how Debenhams had a difficult 2017 season. It seems history is repeating itself but how much longer can they continue?
However, Debenhams aren’t the only major retailer with disappointing results. M&S, Argos and Sainsbury’s also suffered. Sainsbury’s reported a fall of 1.1% while Argos (recently purchased by Sainsbury’s) reported a 2.3% fall on like for like sales.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom however, with the German supermarket Duo; Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons doing well. So, what are the secrets to a successful Christmas on the high street?
Looking back to the 2017 figures and specifically retailers it is becoming more and more apparent that a digital offering is more of a necessity than a luxury. All supermarkets (excluding Aldi & Lidl) have had an app where people can order all their groceries, clothing, gadgets etc. for delivery or collection, Next has a great app for customers, and then you have the online only stores such as Missguided and ASOS. Having a ‘digital first’ strategy for your customers is key to winning the high street. If a retailer can increase their online footfall to counterbalance the reduction in high street footfall, they have a higher chance of surviving what is shaping up to be another hard year for the UK high street.
Digitally transforming your business
You don’t have to be a top high street chain to start thinking about digitally transforming your business. If you want to increase your customer interactions online or improve your internal infrastructure and staff experience, take a look at my key tips, re-shared below, to guide you through your digital transformation journey.
1. Digital strategy – this is ensuring that the board of the company/organisation is bought into the new vision and there is a digital champion who can articulate the whole journey.
2. Ensure that there is a clear, documented Return on Investment (ROI) and that there is an agreed “end-state” to which the whole team has agreed.
3. Use Cloud and other new technologies to gain a competitive advantage. Use small agile companies to help achieve “quick wins” from a technology adoption perspective.
4. Ensure that your infrastructure is up-to-date and scalable. The best digital transformation initiatives fail due to poor infrastructure investment decisions.
5. Set metrics and measure your progress religiously to ensure that you are on track to deliver the desired objectives. Try to remove silos of data by using business intelligence to measure yourself and your team on a regular basis.
6. Be obsessive about the end customer experience and continually monitor the performance of your infrastructure and the way that the users operate across multiple access points: website, mobile, LAN, WAN etc.
If you are interested in learning more on Digital Transformation why not have a look at our ebook ‘Digital Transformation, the Guiding Principles’ which you can download for free here. If you have any enquiries, please feel free to either email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 226 4167.
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