By most counts, the Platinum Jubilee will be considered a success.
No famous faux pas, a few memorable moments and drier than expected weather all combined to give the celebrating masses what they wanted. However, it’s not just flag-waving royalists and nervous organisers who will remember the weekend fondly.
Jubilee boosts UK footfall
UK retail also received a much-needed boost. Data from Springboard – the UK’s leading shopper analytics provider – showed a 17.7% footfall increase over the Jubilee weekend.
High streets fared best with a 22.6% spike. This was followed by shopping centres and retail parks, which saw a 14.8% and 10.2% increase respectively.
Now, you might say ‘of course millions of people flocking to the streets increases footfall’. While this is undoubtedly true, it’s important to note that the actual rise far surpassed Springboard’s own pre-jubilee predictions of 8%. See, there is reason to be hopeful after all.
Cynic shaming aside, the data and subsequent cash spent will no doubt have been a godsend to many bricks and mortar stores. Let’s face it, recent times have been anything but kind to them.
A challenging period for UK retail
Whereas high streets and shopping centres used to be a) the place to get your stuff and b) a well-catered environment to hang out, things have changed dramatically over the past 20 years.
The growth of e-commerce since the turn of the century can be largely blamed for this. While people might complain is destroying their favourite shops, the convenience and cost-saving are sadly too great to be ignored.
Online shopping only accounted for 2.6% of sales in 2006, this had leapt to 20% by 2019. Naturally, this shot up dramatically during the pandemic, leaving companies without e-commerce capabilities to flounder hopelessly in the new world that was thrust upon them.
Even as things returned to normal, it seems online shopping had people hooked. Data for April showed an e-commerce market share of around 26%.
Over the last few months, the cost of living crisis has taken its toll as well. Rampant inflation, driven largely by spiralling energy bills has had many Brits re-evaluating whether they really need to be out shopping at all.
“It is clear the post-pandemic spending bubble has burst, with retailers facing tougher trading conditions, falling consumer confidence, and soaring inflation impacting consumers spending power,” Said British Retail Consortium Chief Helen Dickinson, when speaking with the Guardian on the Jubilee weekend.
Hope on the horizon
Despite the doom and gloom, there is some hope for retail. Post-covid, people were returning to the high street in numbers comparable to pre-pandemic. Maybe it was missed more than we thought.
Similarly, we’re starting to see a trend of once online-only brands branching onto the high street. Amazon, a company known for its exclusively online presence has successfully opened its grocery stores.
For anyone who hasn’t been, the experience of playing without getting your card out is an experience that’s almost worth it in and of itself.
The key to success in a challenging marketplace is standing out. However resistant traditional stores might be, making use of social media and influencers becomes an increasingly viable channel for attracting customers. As its popularity increases, soon, it will be a necessary part of any marketing strategy.
Similarly, customer experience is key – reminding people why they liked shopping in the first place with perks and experiences you just can’t get from your bed/sofa.
While we can’t pretend to have all the answers, we can help in one area. Lost property. Ensuring that if someone loses something in your shopping centres, they get it back is a vital part of the overall experience. You’re not likely to return somewhere that lost your phone are you?
So, if you’re interested in how a digital lost property process can delight your customers and save staff time, we’d love to chat.
Get in touch with us on +44(0)20 8037 3970 or drop us an email on Josh@notlost.com.