'Click & collect' will turn the tables in favour of retailers with physical presence in 2015, analyst BDO predicts

Where once it was the online retailers that held the advantage in the battle for multichannel supremacy, the explosion of 'click & collect' services has tipped the balance back in favour of retailers that boast a physical presence, says BDO.

Furthermore, click & collect will continue to evolve from purely a system of collection points, to being a means for consumers to test out the goods they have bought.
BDO is also predicting that with space at a premium in the modern retail store, and retailers increasingly looking for ways to merge the online and physical channels, digital shopping aisles and instore iPads displaying a retailer’s full online range will increasingly become the norm.
The role of the store will continue to evolve and retailers will look to add more features to draw customers in, from interactive displays such as virtual mirrors, to increased opportunities to allow consumers to use their smartphones in-store.
BDO's other predictions for 2015 include continuing adoption of new ways to extract and manage data and using social media for forecasting and stock management and to stay on top of new trends.
Targeted mobile advertising is likely to be a valuable tool to differentiate retailers from their competitors in 2015.
BDO’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker meanwhile has revealed sales growth for the whole month stayed almost completely flat.
The ‘Black Friday’ weekend surge boosted sales for the last week of November by 5.6 per cent on the same week last year, but overall like-for-like sales at mid-market retailers dipped 0.2 per cent year-on-year for November as a whole.
Monthly gains in sales of lifestyle goods (up 2.1 per cent) and homewares (up 11.4per cent) contrasted sharply with a struggling fashion sector that dropped 1.9 per cent on the same time last year, dragging the overall like-for-like figures down with it.
BDO retail and wholesale head Sophie Bevan said: "Some retailers have been very savvy about Black Friday, and had the capacity – both in store and online –to be able to make the most of it without sacrificing margins."
The excitement around the US- inspired ‘shopping holiday’ did help some retailers achieve
spectacular like-for-like gains, but the three-day shopping frenzy less than a month before
the traditional Boxing Day sale season has not been entirely helpful to UK retailers.
"While the Black Friday period provided exceptional sales for many retailers, there is concern
that sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas could be hit as a result."

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