Last week we shared news that Amazon had opened its first bricks-and-mortar clothing store in California. An e-commerce business at heart, taking the decision to focus on another physical store after previous launches of the Amazon Fresh till-free grocery chain & Amazon 4-star concept stores.
This week we’ve seen Primark, the fashion retailer with bricks-and-mortar presence on high streets up and down the UK, confirm they will dip their toe in the waters of ‘click and collect’ for the very first time later this year. The brand will offer around 2,000 clothing, accessory and lifestyle products as part of a trial which will be run out of 25 stores in the north west of England. However, in a move which appears at odds with the rest of the sector there are no plans to offer a fully online buying experience any time soon. The following quote is from George Weston, Chief Executive of Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods.
“What you will never see is the entire Primark range of products available for click and collect, nor any of it available for home delivery. We are using online selling for click and collecting very selectively.”
You might think that this lack of online buying experience would see Primark with a significant disadvantage against the competition. But the brand have cited the simplicity of click and collect, removing the need for complex and environmentally unfriendly logistics operations, and customer returns coming directly back in to store as just some of the benefits of their approach. And their recent results show that customers are more than happy to hit the shops.
The launch of a new UK website in April 2022 has seen online traffic increase by around 60%. And this has translated in to physical store activity with sales increased by 81% in the three months up to May 2022, compared to 2021. While restrictions linked to the pandemic will play a role in the 2021 numbers this is still an impressive increase and shows that the UK public are getting back to their old shopping habits.
The landscape of the local High Street is no doubt changing but as we've said before the opportunities for those that move to a blend of online and physical retail are enormous. We’re delighted that even bricks and mortar champions like Primark are embracing blended experiences that bring together the best of online with the best of physical. News of the High Street's demise is overstated! But only those brands who find the right balance of online and offline tactics will thrive.
If you'd like to talk about how you can support your local bricks and mortar partners, whether branches, retailers, dealers, franchisees, or affiliates in the battle to drive more local commerce we'd love to talk!