How Luxury Retailer Harrods has Responded to the Rise in Online Spending

This Christmas is likely to be a prosperous time for UK brands and retailers, as the burgeoning economic recovery continues to gather speed. While there appears to be enough disposable income to keep everyone happy, however, it seems as though battle lines are being drawn between retail stores and online shops in the quest for market dominance.

According to Yahoo, an estimated 12 pence in every pound of consumers Christmas shopping budget will be spent online. This is a marked increase on last year, and it comes after inclement weather and heavy storms forced even more consumers online during October and November. This has forced offline retailers to respond, with luxury outlet Harrods in London predictably leading the way.

How Harrods is Combating the Rise in Online Shopping
Harrods has always been a prominent supplier of luxury branded items, and as a result it has faced significant competition from numerous independent retailers that operate online. From distributors such as Skatehut to independent fashion labels, consumers have been able to access a wide range of mid to high-priced items for less through the World Wide Web. This is has represented a considerable conundrum for Harrods bosses, who have limited flexibility in terms of reducing their retail price on luxury items.

Their response? To invest £200 million into regenerating the store and enhancing the consumer’s shopping experience. It recently unveiled its new look to an expectant public, as the Knightsbridge outlet added additional floors and numerous design features to its already lavishly adorned retail space. Of particular interest is the store’s new fifth floor shoe department, which will open in August of 2014 and has been confirmed as the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe. Through this significant investment, it is hoped that consumers will return to the store in droves and rediscover their joy of personal service and browsing luxury items.

In Summary: Will the Consumer Experience Trump Convenience and Consumer Savings?
The level of investment that has been laid down by the stores new owners in considerable, and it highlights the determination of retail outlets to reclaim custom from the rapidly evolving online market. Luxury outlets such as Harrods certainly have an advantage over shops that stock standard merchandise, and not only because they have far greater financial resources to develop their retail space.

In addition to this, they are also able to deliver a luxury experience that compliments their product range, which instantly distinguishes the store from online retailers and independent e-commerce ventures. For individuals who actively enjoy shopping and browsing a range luxury items, a trip to a newly refurbished Harrods represents a relaxing day out in a bustling metropolis.

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