Yet in the United Kingdom brands are adapting to the changing fabric of retail and offering consumers the best of both worlds. Multichannel is one answer when it comes to combining physical retail with online competence across web and mobile. In 2018, based on the digital and physical customer experience they offer, New Look, Argos and Schuh were ranked as leading multichannel retailers. High street retailers’ multichannel strategies also translated well to their online sales figures. In the fiscal year 2017/2018, like-for-like online sales growth among high street fashion retailers was significant. Merging online and in-store shopping, click and collect orders accounted for over 70 percent of all online sales for retailers like Argos, Boots, and Marks and Spencer.
As of October 2018, the rate of click and collect adoption was 64 percent among UK retailers. Some 74 percent of multichannel retailers were also able to deliver orders to store locations. Similarly, 58 percent of retailers offered their customers the buy-online-return-in-store option, keeping physical stores still relevant in online retail. Consumer shopping behavior also confirms that online and physical retail are complementary rather than competing. Shoppers’ retail channel use between 2016 and 2018 shows that 63 percent of consumers prefer brands that operate both online and in-store channels.