67% of marketers are investing in more engaging in-store experiences to attract people back to the high street.
This is according to new data from In-Store Digital Engagement company M-Cube, which surveyed 250 retail and marketing leaders in the UK to discover whether the high street is playing catch up following the pandemic.
The findings revealed that the majority (27%) of retail leaders say consumers will return to the high street fully. Interestingly, 26% of respondents think shoppers will shop in physical stores more than in the pre-pandemic era, arguing the high street will be busier than before.
The research also found that 67% respondents are equally prioritising in-store and online investment, with 13% investing significantly more in in-store experiences. However, over half (53%) will not be reducing their e-commerce investment as consumers return to physical stores.
As leaders see value in both digital and physical offerings, over half of respondents have increased spend on omnichannel by over 20% this year. Despite this, 73% of surveyees say the cost-of-living crisis will affect both in-store and online in 2022, with 16% saying it will impact physical stores more.
Alexios Blanos, UK business director at M-Cube, said: “Despite a rocky period during the pandemic, the future of the high-street looks bright. This research reveals that brands are shifting away from the online focus that has polarised retail in recent years, and investing more than ever in engaging in-store experiences. While we all need to be wary of the cost-of-living crisis, with the technologies available, it’s an exciting time and a chance for rebirth for the retail industry.”
When asked what digital services are being prioritised in 2022, the majority of respondents personalisation services (39%) is a top focus. This was followed by fulfilment and inventory technology (26%), apps (24% ) and evolute payments (11%). Sales assistant experiences (10%) were also identified as key.
When it comes to the Metaverse, 15% of respondents believe this will be a future channel for retailers, while 53% said it might be, and are exploring consumer behaviours in this area more.
“At M-Cube, we guide our clients through their in-store digital transformation, supporting them in the adoption of digital touchpoints to design the customer experience in line with today’s customer needs. The preparation and investment into digital innovations will ensure powerful brand experiences for customers,” Blanos said.
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