UK retailers are expanding their e-commerce staff numbers to handle increasing online sales in the wake of coronavirus, according to new research by Barclays.
The need for employees to handle digital sales is continuing to grow, with the ONS reporting that £3 in every £10 is now being spent online. One in seven UK retailers have subsequently created roles in response to the boom in e-commerce trading.
Other findings in the new white paper from Barclays Corporate Banking reveal that over a quarter of the businesses questioned think the pandemic has helped to transform digital sales in the retail sector.
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Home improvement outlets appear to be leading the way in terms of investment, with 80% stating they were feeling positive about growing revenue from online sales over the next three months.
At the same time, one in seven businesses reported that they planned to reduce the number of physical outlets they have in urban areas within the next twelve months. Meanwhile, 20% of businesses questioned for the white paper think there is a future for local high street outlets, rather than in city centre locations.
The paper indicates that confidence across the retail sector is high, with 94% of those surveyed expecting growth opportunities to keep heading upwards, well into next year.
“The last few months have undoubtedly been challenging for the sector, and we are hearing frequent news of jobs being put at risk,” said Karen Johnson, Head of Retail and Wholesale for Barclays Corporate Banking. “Against that backdrop, however, e-commerce and digital sales have demonstrated significant improvement and have helped to maintain year-on-year growth for many businesses.
Despite the unprecedented uncertainty and disruption, the results of our survey are encouraging, and it is great to see retail leaders confident about their prospects. Many are using the ‘new normal’ to innovate and adapt their business models.”
Interestingly, the report also revealed a shift towards a more localised retail model. Supply chains were thrown into disarray at the height of the pandemic. Consequently, more businesses are looking at using suppliers closer to their own base wherever possible.
At the same time, one in seven businesses reported they planned to reduce the number of physical outlets they have in urban areas within the next twelve months. Meanwhile, 20% of businesses questioned for the white paper think there is a future for local high street outlets, rather than in city centre locations.
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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.