Surviving the retail apocalypse
Over the last few weeks we have seen many stories of the turbulence retail market. Many high street favourites have fallen on tough times and are making drastic changes. We have already lost Woolworths, BHS and Store Twenty One. Since Christmas both Maplin and Toys R Us have gone into administration leaving thousands of jobs at risk. Last week New Look announced its plans to close 60 stores as part of a rescue deal to help it avoid going into administration, shedding 1,000 jobs in the process. Reports suggest that House of Fraser had turned to its landlords asking for rent reductions.
Foot Locker, the US sports store, recently announced plans to close approximately 110 stores globally this year. This follows the closure of 147 stores in 2017.
“The disruption that has characterized the retail industry recently is not going away,” Foot Locker’s CEO Richard Johnson said recently. “Consumers want experiences, they want cool products, and they want it all — fast.”
While the high street may be suffering, online sales have shown steady growth over the last few years with forecasts suggesting 2018 could be a bumper year.
Tastes may change but what’s clear is the appetite for online transactions. More and more consumers are adopting an ‘online first’ mentality, and businesses need to change accordingly.
This is very much the case for accountants. Being online is not enough. Your website needs to be easily found by potential clients on a range of devices including PCs, laptops and smartphones. Recent changes by Google to their search function means websites that are not optimised for mobiles will automatically drop down the search listings and end up further down the page.
The IRIS WebPortal
IRIS WebPortal customers receive a complete website package, incorporating the practice branding and corporate colours. The service includes hosting, ongoing support and on-page search engine optimisation (SEO).
A wide range of features
Maintaining a good SEO ranking is important in ensuring your website generates traffic from regular visitors. Your IRIS website achieves this by including a range of calculators, calendars and tools for your existing clients providing insight to help run their business more efficiently and collaborate with you online.
A key element of your website is the client portal which integrates your existing KashFlow and IRIS OpenSpace portals. This client portal becomes the main entry point for your clients to access their online bookkeeping app and upload, store and approve documents.
Change is coming
With the retail sector many business have embraced the online opportunities and although store closures are to be regretted the overall business is strong. However those businesses that have failed to build an effective online presence find themselves in a more challenging position.
Change is inevitable and business leaders need to address this important issue. They can embrace the change and seize the opportunity. Alternatively they can resist for as long as possible and eventually succumb to the inevitable.