It’s no secret that the UK high street is undergoing massive change – it seems as though every day there’s a new headline about a retail giant closing branches, from Toys R Us to Debenhams and House of Fraser.
Just this week M&S announced that like-for-like sales are down nearly 3% and that 100 stores will be closing by 2022. They are looking to improve their online offering due to competition from online retailers and discounters such as Aldi, Lidl and Primark.
The rapid rise of online shopping and heavy overheads for bricks and mortar retailers have contributed to the pressure on UK high streets. Physical footfall is down across the whole of Europe, but there is an increasing appetite for physical services such as beauty treatments, experiences and social interaction over a traditional retail offering.
Yet again Post Offices have been the number one choice of what people think will make the most positive impact on the local area, and in the top 3 most wanted services, along with specialist food shops and banks.
The convenience sector is also bucking the trend - turnover grew 2.9% between 2017 and 2018 and sales are predicted to reach over £40bn by the end of 2018.
The opportunities are online…
The rapid rise of online shopping also presents an important opportunity for Post Office. The UK Cards Association declared that Brits spend more online than any other nation in the world, equivalent to £4,611 per person each year.
According to Royal Mail, UK online shoppers make 87% of their retail purchases online, up from 80% last year; the proportion of money being spent online has increased as shoppers look for good value for money. The ability to compare prices and a wider choice of products are the key reasons for shoppers going online as opposed to shopping in-store.
The research also shows that 72% would choose the Post Office, trusting their local branch as a suitable alternative for delivery of goods.
Click and Collect and Returns are both growth areas for the business.
…but there is a lot of competition…
However retailers are finding new ways to utilise their networks and logistics operations such as Asda’s ToYou returns service and eBay click & collect with Argos.
… we need to get the basics right
Getting the basics right in collections and returns is key. We have published some resources from the recent Mails workshops to support you with tips and best practice to share with your teams.