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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 06, 2014

Online retailers plan physical presence on Britain's high streets

The Internet has long been blamed for the demise of bricks-and-mortar stores but, according to the results of a recent study by the Royal Mail in the UK, some small online retailers have plans to head to the high street.

by Helen Leggatt

Of the 406 small online retailers surveyed by the Royal Mail, 16% said they plan to open a physical store this year, or at the very least find space within an existing store from which to sell their wares.

405627829_logo_on_van_org.jpgThe reason, says Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, is that small online retailers are looking to exploit as many channels as possible, including online marketplace listings and physical stores. In total, 40% of the UK's small- to medium-sized online retailers are planning to start trading from new channels in the coming 12 months to increase sales.

With so many empty stores littering the UK, small businesses may well be able to bag a bargain, comments the Financial Times.

"A glut of empty shops on the high street means small businesses can often extract favorable terms from landlords," writes the FT's Duncan Robinson. "Often this will involve a low rent, as well as a flexible short-term lease, letting retailers shut up shop quickly - and cheaply - if things do not go according to plan."

More than half of the online retailers surveyed (54%) said competition for online shoppers is "more intense" than in previous years. Almost 60% said this was due to the sheer number of websites and choice available with customer price sensitivity the main driver of competition. In fact, competitive pricing has overtaken expanding product ranges as a top priority for increasing customer satisfaction.

JLRphotography /

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: bricks and mortar, ecommerce, high street, SMB, SME, store, study

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