Retail specialist warns retailers to up their game online in wake of poor December sales figures

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Industry analysts are blaming last year’s alluring Black Friday deals on poor December retail sales.

Released today, the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) retail sales figures show an overall 1.5 per cent decline in December 2017 from November. This marks the biggest month-on-month fall since June 2016, when Britons voted to leave the European Union, as well as the worst December figures since 2010.

Craig Smith, VP of customer success for retail engagement platform Amplience, comments: “After an already challenging year, many retailers must feel like they’ve woken up to a belated lump of coal in their Christmas stocking. Disappointing December trading figures only compound the reality that retailers aren’t doing enough to engage customers. In this uncertain economic and political climate, deep discounts and speedy deliveries may no longer be enough for retailers to survive.”

He adds: “The retail engagement challenge will only increase throughout 2018. After a disappointing Christmas often comes a slew of New Year profit warnings. Increasingly, the sector is becoming a two-speed affair. It is now split between retailers unable to keep up with their customer’s demands and those able to adapt and capitalise quickly on the latest trends.

“The customer experience has changed beyond all recognition, becoming more mobile-centric and social-media focused than ever before. In order to succeed in today’s world, retailers must deliver targeted, enticing content that is optimised for mobile. Retailers who have failed to realise this don’t have much time left.”