The High Street and the Olympic effect
The High Street has been hit with the Olympic effect, but rather than the hustle and bustle of excited tourists pounding the streets, in reality retail analysts reveal that shoppers are staying away. Westfield, the Australian shopping centre developer, has now confirmed that it is planning to spend £3 billion on new projects in the UK, does this spell the end for the High Street?
Jeremy Michael, managing director of customer insight agency SMG, explains: “Suffering retail stores on the High Street can learn a lot from the incredible spectator experience created at the Olympic Park. The Olympic employees, from army security to cafeteria staff, have been exceptionally friendly while encouraging fans to get into the spirit of the Games. The result of this staff behaviour is a sensational atmosphere that keeps spectators and employees in the Park all day, enjoying all the amenities and spending more money. In fact, a video of an enthusiastic Park employee has already gone viral, reaching up to 1 million views in 4 days!
Retail stores fail to replicate this atmosphere too often. Instead of blaming bad weather and the Olympics for poor growth figures this summer, brands should focus on staff providing an enjoyable environment that keeps customers happy, encouraging greater spend. This is essential for the High Street, particularly if it is to compete with shopping malls such as Westfield which provides day-long experiences. This supports our recent research as customers who experience positive staff interaction and assistance will spend on average 39 per cent more than those who are not helped or greeted.
Many forward thinking retailers and service providers are going back to basics and getting to grips with what the customer wants. This will help the industry understand what drives sales and levels of return and recommendation, by asking the customers what they experienced from stores in a mall or on the High Street.
Jeremy can talk about the financial rewards of improving customer service, effective ways to provide a better customer experience and why ensuring a seamless online and in-store experience is essential for the future.
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