Ecommerce News

How Ecommerce Businesses Can Prepare For The Return of the High Street


Within the past year, we’ve seen businesses tumble and triumph in the wake of the global pandemic. Every industry worldwide has been hit by the pandemic in some way, but with the closure of the high street in 2020, online retailers boomed.

This was unprecedented. The first time ecommerce businesses didn’t have to compete with the high street – something they never thought would happen.

Online sales as a percentage of retail sales in the UK boomed to an all-time high of 34.6% in January 2021, up from 19.1% in February 2020.

Levels of which we’ve never seen before. The pandemic has propelled ecommerce forward by about 5 years in terms of sales levels, which has been great for most online retailers. But now the restrictions are easing in the UK and shops, restaurants and bars are set to reopen – how will this affect online shopping and what can ecommerce businesses do to prepare?

Adoption of online shopping

Research shows that 36% of online shoppers, shopped more frequently during the lockdown period and 49% of over-65’s increased their online shopping whilst 28% of 18-24 year olds reduced their online shopping.

It also shows that even with the restrictions easing, 63% have maintained their online shopping habits with 15% even increasing their online shopping frequency.

It looks like the majority of the UK population have gotten used to online shopping, its convenience and ease and the reopening of high street shops isn’t enough to lure them back in.

Whilst many may flock back to the high streets for those shops where you can’t purchase online such as Primark and some ecommerce businesses may see a dip in sales during this period. Online retailers may be surprised to see a steady level of online shoppers who have now switched to online shopping forever.

But what can online retailers do to help encourage shoppers to continue shopping with them online rather than flocking to their nearest high street?

Sales & promotions

Something to implement if you haven’t already are sales and promotions. These are a great way to attract bargain-hunting customers and get existing customers to spend more.

An ‘end of season’ sale is common amongst businesses in the fashion industry but it is quickly being adopted by other retailers. If you have old or out of season stock laying around, a sale could be a great way to free up storage space and generate additional sales and traffic.

Next day delivery

Next day delivery is something most businesses offer already, some for a price and some for free. Even if you already do this, highlighting free next day delivery as standard on all online orders until midnight in X amount of days. This gives your visitors a sense of urgency when it comes to shopping with you. Knowing that they can only get free delivery for a certain amount of time will encourage them to check out any items they’d like to purchase.

Free gifts

Lastly, offering a free small gift with any online purchases is another great FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) tactic used to increase sales. You could also couple this by encouraging them to sign up for your newsletter to receive exclusive discounts, offers and gifts in the future.

Some of these tactics brick and mortar retailers may also use to get people in their doors so competition will be high in the coming weeks. But tailor your content and offerings to what your customers are looking for and use this in tandem with the above tips and your sales should remain steady.


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