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What's NEXT in-store?

A NEXT Storefront.

Thanks to Mrs. Airey's Next account we’ve enjoyed free delivery and collect-from-home returns for a while now. It’s allowed us to use home delivery for browsing and as a fitting room, ordering the same item of clothing in multiple sizes knowing it was effortless to return those that didn’t fit. Evri’s friendly delivery driver is at my door so often he’s almost one of the family and without a doubt, Next has become our go-to for wardrobe filling. Alas, from August they’re removing their free collect-from-home service.

The value of UK online retail sales is now £106bn*, so it’s clear us Brits love the convenience. We demand next-day delivery so 60% of retailers oblige*, 18% offer free delivery* but the average return fee from major retailers is £13.10*. It doesn’t seem to put us off with online purchases continually rising as in-store purchases fall.

But our need for expedience is bad news for retailers: click-and-collect costs retailers 4 times more than in-store purchases and home delivery can be anywhere between 5 and 23 times more costly. So how do retailers coax us back into stores and maximise profits?


Next dropping their free collect-from-home service might be one tactic, but adding to the in-store experience should be a focus. Consumers suggested they could be persuaded away from buying online if items they wanted were available locally, if they could check stock was available online in advance, and if items were easy to find.

Making stores more inviting will mean extra impulse purchases too – I always liked to check out Next’s furniture while my Wife tried on her umpteenth garment, and I always felt Next was an OK place to be seen, they stock designer labels and their own stag embroidered sweatshirts and socks are great (am I showing my age now?).

But can they, and all retailers do more? They should certainly leverage the one thing stores boast that websites can’t… people. Online stores make it easy to buy, but they also make it easy not to buy.

There’s no helpful assistant offering different options, telling us how great we look or going the extra mile. It doesn’t have to be a 90-minute, £645 personal tailoring appointment like 
Reiss are offering (although that sounds tempting if you’ve got the wedge) but add-on services should be considered and promoted locally. I always thought Marks and Spencer’s free bra fitting appointments was a good idea, and do Clarks still have those slightly scary and ticklish foot measuring machines? Can stores promote themselves based on their location? “Shop at Next, and next door.” “Pedal down to Halfords. “GO Outdoors LTD, rather than online.”

For more inspired localised marketing, get in touch with us at We Are Acuity (and let me indulge in more headline writing). We’ve huge experience of helping global and national brands support their online presence by activating in local towns and cities.

If you are an ambitious bricks & mortar brand looking at expansion, and need some marketing support on how to maintain your brand, activate it at local level and engage your outlets in your campaigns, get in touch with 
We Are Acuity today for a FREE marketing audit by clicking HERE.

Or if you'd like to read more about Local Marketing have a look at our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog

*Statista 2023 #localmarketing #localization #instoreexperience

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