The dying light of the high street – 50% of retail could move online by 2044

A 1951 poem by Dylan Thomas says “Do not go gentle into that good night – rage against the dying of the light”, which perfectly encapsulates the current state of the UK high street. The advent of technology has turned the UK retail sector on its head providing greater value, greater convenience and greater variety, all from the comfort of our own homes. The downfall of this growing e-commerce within the UK’s shopping and spending habits is more and more big names are disappearing from Great Britain’s high street. The latest research from Yomdel, the UK’s fi rst provider of fully-managed 24-7 live chat, has looked at how prominent internet shopping currently is, and how long it could be before heading to the high street is a thing of the past. Using retail sales data from the Offi ce of National Statistics (ONS) Yomdel fi rst looked at what proportion of retail sales is already carried out online. While this varies throughout the year, with notable spikes around Christmas for example, the prominence of online shopping has grown

dramatically since 2007. In 2007, the average number of online sales as a proportion of all retailing was just 3.3% but so far in 2018, online sales already account for 17.5% of all retail transactions. This has grown steadily over the last 10 and a half years at an average increase of 1.29% a year. Following this trend, the research shows by 2024, a quarter of all retailing could be done online, with this hitting 50% by 2044. While it looks set to take some time longer, this could increase to three- quarters of all retailing by 2063, with the bricks and mortar retail outlet becoming extinct by 2082 as 100% of retailing moves online. Business growth expert and Yomdel CEO, Andy Soloman said: “This research shows how prominent technology and the internet is becoming in our day-to-day shopping habits, and further innovation to the retail sector could even see the high street struggle to compete a lot sooner than these fi gures suggest.” “However, the human element is absolutely vital in commerce – even with the best technology – and particularly

when dealing with complex customer enquiries. “Rather than the high street becoming obsolete, we like to believe it will survive and evolve to deal with the changing face of consumer behaviour as people will always value that personal aspect which is only provided by a physical shop. “What’s perhaps more important to consider is how retailers not only pivot with the times, but integrate a successful solution to accommodate a growing preference for customers to approach and engage with their business online. This could be through a more engaging website, web-based contact options such as automated contact forms, a well- formed FAQs section or a managed live chat service. “The internet isn’t going away, but there’s more than enough room for everyone to exist and to use it to our benefi t.” If your store, shop or business has been negatively aff ected by the increase of online sales, we’d like to hear from you. Email us at: editor@ or ring us on 0800 690 6808.

Mirka invests in training centre of the future

MIRKA UK opened a new state-of- the-art national training centre in Milton Keynes in September 2018. The investment is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to providing customers with expert training and development. The site will allow further expansion to Mirka’s high-quality abrasive, tooling and polishing solutions – which will enable businesses to improve their production, output and profit performance. The training centre will offer customised training programmes for groups of up to 12 delegates; based on customer needs and requirements. The 2,500 square-foot site has been designed to maximise the user experience with a practical

demonstration space, where Mirka’s in- house technical experts can showcase the company's latest processes and products. It will also allow attendees to be able to complete the hands- on technical training in a workshop setting. It also features classroom space for more knowledge-based learning, which can then be transferred into the practical elements of the training programme.

Craig Daycock, Managing Director of Mirka UK, said: “We understand the sectors we work in are constantly evolving in terms of the processes and products required to improve production, output and profit, while still reducing cost and waste. Training is essential for our customers to achieve this. “To take our on-site customer training to the next level, we made the decision to invest in our own training centre. “We look forward to ensuring those users who come through our doors will leave knowing they have developed and learnt new skills and techniques to assist them in their jobs and enable companies to expand their business opportunities.”




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