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UK Retailers Embrace Multifaceted Strategy to Boost Sales, Says Study

New research from American Express reveals that UK retailers are adopting a multifaceted approach to drive sales growth this year, focusing on both physical expansion and digital enhancement.

The study, which surveyed 500 senior decision-makers across the retail and hospitality sectors, explores the challenges, investment priorities, and customer engagement strategies of businesses of various sizes.

The findings highlight a significant emphasis on strengthening online capabilities, with nearly a third of surveyed retailers (32 percent) planning to either revamp existing e-commerce platforms or launch new ones within the next year. Despite the digital focus, plans for brick-and-mortar expansion remain robust. Nearly a third (29 percent) of respondents are considering new store openings in 2024, and among large retailers specifically, over half (53 percent) are gearing up for new premises this year.

Overall, the research paints an optimistic outlook for the retail sector, with 80 percent of respondents expressing confidence in their ability to attract and retain customers. Business development and marketing emerge as critical investment areas, with over a third (35 percent) of retailers prioritizing these avenues to foster customer connections. Notably, a substantial proportion are looking to experiment with new marketing channels and intensify social media engagement to tap into evolving consumer trends and broaden their reach.

Dan Edelman, General Manager of UK Merchant Services at American Express, commented on the findings: “Our research reveals an optimism among UK retailers, with an appetite to invest to tackle the ongoing challenge of attracting and retaining customers. This comes with the recognition that, in a competitive landscape, retailers need to utilize all the channels available to them to build connections. It’s encouraging to see that a bricks-and-mortar presence remains key, in tandem with driving online growth, to create those customer experiences that encourage spend and lasting loyalty.”

The study also indicates that retailers are increasingly aware of the importance of a seamless omnichannel strategy. By integrating physical and digital touchpoints, they aim to enhance the overall customer experience, ensuring convenience and engagement at every interaction.

Furthermore, the research highlights the willingness of retailers to innovate in their marketing efforts. By exploring new marketing channels and leveraging the power of social media, they aim to stay ahead of consumer trends and reach a broader audience. This adaptive approach is seen as crucial in a rapidly changing retail environment where customer preferences and behaviors are continually evolving.

In conclusion, the American Express study showcases a proactive and confident retail sector in the UK, ready to invest in both physical and digital growth. The dual focus on expanding store presence and enhancing online platforms reflects a comprehensive strategy designed to attract and retain customers, ultimately driving sales growth in a competitive market.

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