The demise of HMV, Blockbusters, Comet and Jessops in the past two months has brought sharp focus to the high street. Despite the Government’s best efforts in appointing Mary Portas to find solutions to revive the high street, it seems that this current age of technology and the internet could see further casualties for businesses. Such challenges require modern and forward-thinking solutions for businesses to survive and thrive for the future. Here are my 5 suggestions for survival:
1. Improve e-tail offering
The number of people purchasing goods and services using the internet is increasing year by year, with over 10% of total retail sales being made online during December. With e-tailing expected to grow further in the coming years, traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers should improve their online offerings. Techniques such as SEO, multi-channel marketing and branding using social media, responsive and adaptive web design for different devices and user-friendly web pages enhance the shopping experience. Additionally, using discount codes for purchases and loyalty vouchers may increase online purchases for a retailer.
2. Use alternative methods of payment
Mobile payments are becoming an increasingly common method of receiving and making payments for businesses. Services such as PayPal, iZettle and Square have add-on devices for mobile payments. These enable consumers to pay for goods and services in a fast and convenient fashion. Furthermore, NFC technology has caused an influx of payment services such as Google Wallet, Visa mobile and O2’s mobile payment service offers businesses many solutions to accept payments for now and the future.
3. Adopt ‘smarter’ methods in products for consumers
Smart products are becoming more commonplace in society. From smart readers in the home that monitor energy and power usage to sensors in vehicles that assist parking and uses intelligent lighting when driving in certain road conditions. Such innovations can be applied for food packaging, with the use of smart packaging used to detect food that has gone off to reduce wastage. Additionally, other applications for ‘smart’ food could be portion size recommendations (smart labelling) and notification alerts for when food is running out in the fridge. These methods may potentially save businesses money, by using data gathered may provide supermarkets within a particular area about the type of customers that purchase items from their stores. This enables the supermarket to use efficient stock control methods and reduces their food wastage.
4. Ask the audience
With crowd-sourced funding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub providing opportunities for businesses and start-ups to raise funds for their projects, this provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to innovate and experiment for new products and services. Also, crowd funding is useful as a means to gauge the viability and popularity of a project, as well as finding new and exciting products to stock for sale. Successful projects include the Pebble watch and the POP charging stand, which received significantly more pledged funds that their original target amount. Finally, using crowd-sourced funding guarantees purchases for your product or service offering provided a business follows through on their promise of producing the product purchased.