Understanding the future of the high street is a major part of understanding the future of work in the UK. The retail sector supports nearly three million workers in the UK, and generates more than £90billion for the UK economy. But it has been and will stay in flux for some time. Disruption is nothing new – a 2018 survey found that 80 per cent of top executives feared the risk of disruptive market entrants. Telecoms had Apple. Banks had TransferWise. And the retailers had Amazon. The change to out-of-town shopping in the 1970s disrupted the high street. Online shopping and Amazon were the next sea change.
But Amazon was launched 25 years ago. Retail’s next disruptive moment is here. Amazon has been tremendously successful, but hegemony leads to laziness, not innovation. Disruptors foster new solutions to old problems. The future of the retail sector is about how technology can once again positively disrupt the market by finding a way for online and high-street shopping to become interdependent, not competitive. The retail sector can no longer be online versus high street, or big versus small business, but about innovative versus outdated.
Amazon no longer answers the question of what the future of work will be. It no longer innovates to offer the services that businesses and consumers want. It has rested on its laurels, and now other agile and creative disruptors are leading the way on what the future of work for retail looks like. That is where OnBuy.com comes in. It is the disruptor that online and high-street businesses need. It is the marketplace of the future.
OnBuy is not a retailer. It does not compete with sellers and is accessible for all. OnBuy’s selling fees are cheaper than Amazon, meaning sellers can price competitively and buyers can get the best deal.
This in itself has disrupted the marketplace sector. OnBuy already lists more than 10 million products from thousands of sellers, has a unique partnership with PayPal, and plans to expand to 140 countries. Purchases on the site grew by more than 1,100 per cent between 2018 and 2019. Sellers and buyers already recognise value in a marketplace like this. OnBuy already has the potential to host more sellers than any other platform in the world, and the ambition to provide the infrastructure all businesses need to deliver their products straight to the consumer.
High-street retailers can unlock the potential of e-commerce, and change the way they work. An integrated e-commerce platform will enable local click-and-collect services, and same-day delivery for small businesses – even those with just one store – in ways that existing marketplaces have not. This benefits businesses, consumers, and the high street. This can be a genuinely integrated model for online and high-street retailers, rather than a competitive one. High-street businesses can use integrated e-commerce platforms, such as OnBuy, to sell and deliver their products in a way that is convenient and competitive for consumers. This will be a game-changer.
The future of work in the retail sector is always changing. From high streets, to out of town, to online, and now to universal, integrated selling and delivery platforms, a strong retail sector should never stand still. Disruptive innovation will always be good for business, for consumers, and for the way many of us will work in the future.