Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Ionian Greek philosopher noted that “The only constant in life is change” and I’m sure we can all agree that he absolutely knew what he was talking about.

As we look at the climate and situation we find ourselves in right now, social distancing is becoming part of the ‘new normal’ and everyone has to change the way they work, shop and generally live their lives. There are bound to be knock-on effects and these are becoming more and more evident every day in the world of retail.

Just this morning T.M.Lewin announced that they are to close all 66 of their shops across the UK, moving their entire focus online after not reopening any of their stores when restrictions were lifted earlier this June. And they follow in the footsteps of other major household names that have done the same. This January Bose announced that they were to close its entire retail store footprint in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia.

In March this year, Oasis and Warehouse closed their operations in the UK, 92 stores and 437 concessions were terminated with the business falling into administration before their online business was rescued by BooHoo, the online-only fashion retailer.

But this trend of closing stores is happening for businesses that are slimming down their footprint too. Debenhams, Aldo, Monsoon, Accessorize, Harveys Furniture and Laura Ashely are amongst the many retailers realigning their business model by closing a number of their outlets.

The Centre for Retail Research has indicated that “More retailers operating from physical stores have closed stores so far (to June 2020) this year and made employees redundant than in the whole of 2019, which was ‘the worst year for 25 years’.”

But it is not all doom and gloom out there. In our blog, E-Commerce Statistics That Are More Relevant Now Than Ever Before, there was a 21% increase in online orders in March 2020 vs March 2019, and in a survey, they conducted with over 3,000 members of the Influenster community, 41% of respondents answered that they were “currently shopping online for things they would normally shop for in-store.”

Shopping habits have been changing for a while and the shift to online is something we have been seeing grow year on year, but COVID sped this adoption up a lot and as people had no other choice but to reach out into the online world to stay connected and fulfil their shopping needs, a lot of consumers are not looking back.

As an early adopter myself, I remember purchasing electronics from the website letsbuyit.com where products were put to market and once a minimum number of orders were hit, products were purchased, and orders completed.

This was all the way back in the late ’90s when very few people bought anything on the internet, let alone big-ticket items.

And I’m such an early adopter, that I remember what ASOS was set up to sell, and what those 4 letters stand for. In fact, I still have things in my wardrobe that I purchased from them in their original form. Here’s hoping early 2000 fashion makes a comeback.

This year alone, I have purchased a high-end Canon DSLR, a TV, a 3-piece suit, a large format printer and Apple products all online, without ever having seen them in a store. What people are calling the ‘new normal’ is just my normal.

In fact, since the lockdown started in the UK until today, I have not stepped foot into a retail store. Everything that I have bought has been done online.

If a business has not moved toward creating a digital shopping experience for their existing and future customers, now is the time to do it. All attention is focused online, and you’ve got to be there to be seen.

And although it might seem like the lockdown is easing and things are starting to open up again, we only have to look at Leicester and Melbourne in Australia to see that things are not going to be that black and white. At any point, areas of the UK could see localised lockdowns.

If you think you might have products that won’t sell online, you’re missing a trick. Advances in technology are making it easier for people to have truly unique and in some cases better than instore experiences. Ares, our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution allows sellers to add full AR models of their products to their website to help consumers experience products in their own homes. You can try on sunglasses, hang a picture on the wall or place furniture onto your homes with nothing more than a mobile phone.

At Eclipse we’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple. We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations. Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

We’ve tailored a solution for everyone, no matter where the start point in the market is. Take a look at what we have on offer and reach out so we can help you launch your new digital shop front.

For those of you wondering, ASOS originally stood for AsSeenOnScreen with the tagline “Buy what you see on film and TV” because it exclusively sold imitations of clothing from those mediums (for example, Brad Pitt’s red leather jacket from the 1999 movie Fight Club).