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Online Retailers Must Adapt to Replicate Department Store Experience

By Tank • Thursday Mar 11th, 2021

A leading online retail expert has warned that eCommerce brands must do more to replicate the experience of physical stores for customers. 

Following the acquisition of Debenhams and Topshop by Boohoo and ASOS which will move the stores’ operations to online-only sales, Rich Himsworth, CEO of online retail specialist Salesfire, has called on eCommerce brands to replicate some of the features of department stores. 

Salesfire data showed that online fashion sales were up 124% in January compared to the same period in 2020. 

Rich said:

“It’s no secret that the pandemic has advanced the shift to eCommerce significantly and Boohoo’s acquisition of Debenhams’ brand and the acquisition of Topshop by ASOS are both clear signs of the challenges high street fashion and department stores have faced over recent years. 

“Online retailers are becoming increasingly savvy at improving the customer experience but for many purchasing a product online still feels transactional. With the trend towards eCommerce likely to continue, online retailers must adapt to replicate the department store experience.

“We are expecting to see a lot of pent-up demand for physical retail when lockdown restrictions are eased, and customers will be eager to experience the sense of humanity from the in-store experience again. However, it is also important that retailers’ online offering can provide the same sense of empathy and assistance that customers would have in-store.

“The customer’s online journey can often compliment a visit to a physical store, so simply ensuring the customer receives a personalised experience and can find the best product or solution will go a long way to replicating the feeling of a department store. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the in-store experience, and online retailers must be prepared to borrow elements from it to keep customers coming back.” 

Produced for Salesfire by Tank.