How is 2021 going to be different for retailers


If your 2020 was largely spent answering the door to the delivery driver, you’re not alone.  Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce had no choice but to solidify itself into our public consciousness. Just a few clicks and your new ping pong and/or loungewear would be in your lap in a matter of days, and sometimes, hours.

With high streets that were already struggling before the lockdowns, how will 2021 look for traditional retailers? And to channel Cher, can they turn back time and survive?

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If you’re not online, where are you?

The ultimate elephant in the room. In a year where people were confined at home and spending more time than ever on their devices, if you weren’t present online, you really weren’t anywhere at all.

Take Arcadia Group as an example - specifically the womenswear giant Topshop. Since the group went into administration in November 2020, commentators have highlighted the group’s lack of digital presence as one of the contributing factors to its demise. For such a huge, well-known brand, it’s surprising to many that they seemed to somehow resist the move to the digital sphere compared to so many of their competitors. 

Where their Oxford Street flagship store was once often the centre of a real shopping experience (think live model Kate Moss in the window), the competition from online retailers such as ASOS and Boohoo started drawing their target audience away. Ultimately, customers favoured convenience via influencer culture.

While Topshop ran a successful influencer campaign showcasing their ‘SNO’ range, their positioning next to their competitors had become a bit blurred. It wasn’t the fast and low cost realm of the likes of Boohoo or Pretty Little Thing, but neither was it the perceived high end of the spectrum such as Whistles or Jigsaw. What was it? It was too little, too late. 

It was clear the brand was going through a bit of an identity crisis. And if your brand is uncertain of itself, customers won’t buy into your message or, more importantly, your products.

What can retailers learn from this?

Our culture and way of life as we know aren’t going to snap back to normal overnight. Retailers that are relying solely on their bricks and mortar premises have now realised they need to get online and in some instances, diversify. There’s no telling how our high streets will recover when this is all over (or indeed whether they will), so many are creating a plan B.

It’s no longer enough to simply have a platform to showcase your products. There needs to be a strategy. You need well-thought-out campaigns that provide the ultimate customer journey and experience. That’s what’s going to convert those visitors into sales. 

At Bobble Digital, we have the ideas to bring your business to life in the digital world. Together we can create a strategy to help you build your presence online and remind your dedicated customers that you’re still here and ready to trade. If you’re ready to make the change and get online, give us a call today and let’s work together.

   

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