You can't help but have noticed that times are tough for the average high street. In the last two years alone, more than 6,000 retailers have closed due to a lack of a customers coming through their doors. In order to survive, an increasing number of businesses are moving their stores online or at the very least, complementing their physical stores with an online one to fill the gaps.
As a leading provider of bespoke e-Commerce websites here at Advansys, we're going to examine why UK high street retailers have been struggling in recent years, why they should be migrating online and the best way to do so.
The Rise of eCommerce Websites (and Other Reasons) Why UK Retailers Are In Trouble
Here are the main reasons that economists believe that UK retailers have been struggling:
- Online rivals. The internet has made life more challenging for physical retailers in a number of ways – aside from directly diverting sales, e-Commerce websites have given shoppers fewer reason to visit their local high street(why shop outside when you can do it from the comfort of your own home?) This reduces the chances of smaller retailers from drawing in the passing trade ('footfall'), whilst the cost and complexities of creating the infrastructure to deliver goods to people's homes efficiently has also massively affected profits.
Online specialists, such as Amazon, Boohoo and Asos are unhindered by a long line of outdated and profit-sapping stores. The ease in which people can compare prices and access goods from around the world has vastly increased the competition too – those who live in a small town are no longer restricted to shopping local.
It's also worth considering that the internet also allows shoppers to trade goods amongst themselves – eBay, Etsy and even Facebook have easy-to-access marketplaces with a limitless selection of products. The growth of shopping apps within the last decade has made online retailing much easier than ever before. Accessibility being the key advantage that online stores have over physical ones.
- Rising costs. Another huge factor in the decline of the high street has been the ever-increasing monetary cost it takes just to open the doors of a store. The fall of the pound in recent years has seen the costs of sourcing goods from abroad soar. Then there's the rise in the legal minimum wage, the imposition of the apprenticeship levy and the rise in business rates. London and the South East, in particular, have seen significant rises – according to property adviser, Altus Group, around 1,400 shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels received an average rise of almost£50,000 in business rates.
- The spending squeeze. With inflation being at 3% at the start of last year and wages rises remaining stuck between 2% and 2.5%,consumers have understandably been more cautious with how they spend their money. Wages have remained low despite employment numbers being at their highest since the 1970s – mainly due to the rise in part-time jobs, zero-hour contracts and self-employment (and not to mention the current uncertainty over Brexit). Offering them a limitless marketplace, it's no surprise to see people glide through e-Commerce websites, whilst the high street sees fewer feet pound their pavements.
Why Businesses Need To Be Online
In this digital age, it is simply imperative for all businesses to have some kind of online presence. Even if a physical store is doing relatively fine in this troubled era for the high street, a website will allow them to continue to promote their brand, to showcase their products/services in more detail and to build relationships with existing and potential customers.
Whilst establishing an online store will help a business to reach a worldwide audience, not all businesses who have a website sell their products online – the promotional opportunities that they can gain from the internet can work to get people to visit their stores in person. But how to design that e-Commerce website that grabs a browser's attentions? Mobile-friendly website design is the place to start.
Why Should Websites Be Mobile Friendly?
It's been over two years now that the number of people who surf the web on their mobile devices has surpassed the number of those who do it on traditional desktop PC's. Phones and tablets have the mobility to be taken anywhere at any time – and thanks to the progress in broadband and wireless connections, it is easier than ever to access the World Wide Web. And the shops that are on there.
Here are some reasons why all e-Commerce websites should be designed with mobile in mind:
- It's cost effective. Responsive website design allows sites to adapt to the device that it's being viewed on, improving the user experience and making it easy for the user to browse.This is important because, without responsive design, the website will look outdated or will load-up different versions of the same website, slowing the user experience and ultimately increasing the cost of design and maintenance over the long term.
- It helps to establish authority. As responsive e-Commerce websites improve the user experience, it also presents an opportunity for the business to establish an industry-leading authority. Search engines will reward such sites with higher rankings in a keyword search. Sites like Google obviously want to rank the best, most informative websites at the top of its pages – as most people use their mobile devices to search the web, it makes absolute sense that responsive websites would be valued highly.
- Mobile users buy more. With mobile internet being convenient, there is little loading time and no waiting for devices to start up. Being accessible from anywhere, this helps to foster the notion of 'impulse buying'; shoppers will not be hanging onto the idea of purchasing the products they're browsing at another time – they can do it safely and easily at that moment.
Those are just three basic reasons why any UK business should be investing in a responsive, mobile-friendly website. If you run your own business and are looking to take advantage of the ever-growing online marketplace; whether you want to supplement your existing physical store, to promote it or migrate online altogether, the vastly experienced e-Commerce website designers here at Advansys can help.
Choose Advansys For High-Quality Mobile-Friendly Website Design
For many years now, the team here at Advansys have been creating bespoke websites for a wide range of business operations –from new start-ups, looking to make their mark in their industry to vastly experienced businesses, seeking to reimagine how they portray their services online. Having 'been there and done that' we cannot stress enough the importance of a modern business to possess a responsive website.
If you're interested in learning more about how responsive e-Commerce websites can help your business to showcase and sell its products/services, then please do not hesitate to give us a call today on 0845 838 2700. Alternatively, you can reach us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org