The Unlikely Saviour of the High Street – Google?!
Another year another damaging time for British High Street retailers. 2018 saw the likes of discount specialists Poundworld take their last pound coin, Electronics giant Maplin switch the lights off on all 200 stores and Toys R Us playing no games when they disappeared in the summer.
Over 28 multi store retailers liquidated last year and over 2,000 stores closed their doors for the last time. 2019 is already looking ominous, with entertainment retailer HMV the first of the year to announce high street troubles.
While the high street may be struggling, online sales are thriving. In the past 10 years, online sales in the retail sector have more than tripled, equating to 18% of all retail sales. With clear availability of stock, competitive delivery times and simplified checkout user experience, online retail can complete with high street retail on almost all fronts and better.
The high street needs a saviour to their future and fast as experts are predicting the death of our shops by 2030, but does that come from the most unlikely of allies in Google?!
Here are three ways Google are trying to wave the woes of the high street:
Omni-Channel Experience for the High Street
The UK’s high streets are filled with large multi store retailers where online, consumers can easily see the availability of stock, yet independent retailers who take a chunk of the space struggle with a similar omni-channel experience. Google are starting to combat this, teaming up with London start-up, Near St. where their online platform displays live stock of local high street stores online, saving the wasted journey in the direct shopping experience.
Google My Business has been launched for a few years now, but now more than ever it is crucial your company has a local profile listing up to date with correct opening times, address and contact details as almost half of all Google searches had local intent last year.
New Realities to Embrace
82% of retail sales are still taking place offline. So there is still a huge opportunity in high street shopping, but in a vastly changing shopping experience it is imperative that you’re in-store experience brings footfall and ultimately sales. Google’s inexpensive virtual reality headset Google Cardboard is a way of implementing new technologies such as VR and AR into an improved retail experience. Companies such as M&S and EE are just some of the companies embracing changes to the consumer shopping experience.