UK retailers believe omni-channel enterprises will “out-compete” online pure-players
Entitled ‘Survival Of The Fittest: a global survey on retail strategies to survive and prosper amid disruption,' the report surveyed nearly 300 retailers in the UK, US and France, and questioned both online pure-players as well as labels who operated both online and physical stores.
The majority of US retailers (76 percent) sense higher degrees of competition that their UK counterparts (29.2 percent) and when questioned as to what the main challenges faced by online retailers, most US retailers revealed that B2C e-commerce was the main complication when it came to online competition, followed by more online products to consider for sale and a more complex presentation for e-commerce (75.8 percent and 52.7 percent respectively).
Whilst a number of UK retailers agreed with the US that more online products to consider and more complex presentation is a top issue for e-commerce (37.5 percent), shipping and returns were also perceived as a top challenge for UK retailers to content with (33.3 percent).
Nevertheless, UK retailers prerequisite towards a combination of brick-and-mortar stores with e-commerce remains “a bit puzzling,” as the UK, along with the US, are the two leading nations in the percentage of retail sales online, according to several research firms.
UK retailers belief in omni-channelling remains "a bit puzzling"
According to the British Retail Consortium, online sales accounted for 9 percent of the total retail sales in the UK in 2012. The Center for Retail Research calculated this amount to grow to 16 percent this year, which is slightly higher than the 15 percent the center forecasts for the US.
A difference in geographical size could contribute to the US retailers sentiment that owning a physical store is not a prerequisite for retail success, whilst a more traditional mindset towards retail paired with smaller distances within the UK could also factor in the differences in attitudes towards online pure-play and omni-channel success.
“The varied approaches to online vs. offline market models between the US and Europe underscore a pronounced difference in strategy,” commented Michael Ross, co-founder and chief scientist of eCommera. “Retailers will benefit by staying in tune with trends in their own nation and by borrowing best practices from overseas, to meet customer expectations while introducing innovations that can capture business.”