Rupert Cook, business development director of field marketing agency Gekko, points to positive results from Dixons Carphone as proof that the high street is not dead and those independent retailers who embrace the latest tech can also thrive
Recent yearly results published by Dixons Carphone are good news for all retailers, whether multiple or independent.
Despite price increases and decreasing consumer confidence following the Brexit vote, Dixons has been able to beat the downward trend, increasing pre-tax profits by 10 per cent and like-for-like sales by four per cent compared with 2016.
Looking at the whole of the UK, some key categories have seen lower sales. With TV, for example, seeing a 14.9 per cent unit sales decrease last year, it’s positive news for UK retail that the number-one consumer electronics retailer is proving that consumers are still heading to the high street to buy household tech.
As an agency that represents tech brands in UK retailers, including Dixons Carphone, Gekko’s results in-store agree with theirs, with sales having increased by 5.6 per cent relative to the same period in 2016.
One category that has been particularly significant in improving results for tech retail has been the smart home. Still a growing sector, expected to be worth $58.47 billion (£45.3bn) globally by 2020, the smart home is enthusing consumers to upgrade their appliances and home technology.
In a recent campaign for a smart-home brand, Gekko’s training team created a 68 per cent uplift in knowledge among store staff, which helped deliver a healthy 36 per cent sales uplift in the following weeks.
For independent retail, the strong results seen by Dixons Carphone set an optimistic tone. Gekko knows that 74 per cent of consumers prefer to shop in-store, because it allows them to see, touch and experience the product before buying. Dixons’s results show that consumers are still heading to the high street when looking to purchase a high-ticket item.
These ‘considered purchases’ – products that shoppers need time to think about before deciding it’s right for them – require that additional assistance only found in physical retail.
To match the large retailers in their success, independents need to create a welcoming, ‘showroom’-style atmosphere that will encourage shoppers to try out products before they buy.
A conversation with knowledgeable store staff can easily transform a browser into a customer. Developing categories, such as the smart home, are important areas for potential growth.
Set your store apart by offering shoppers an experience they can’t find in larger retailers, and you too can see these positive results.