Failure to modernise is why businesses fail, says Clarendon UK in its 25th year

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Celebrating its 25th year, Clarendon UK, the serviced apartments specialist in London, emphasises the importance of adapting to customer and consumer needs and why failure to do so is damaging high street brands.

Serviced apartment living, why settle for less?

Canary Wharf, serviced apartments by Clarendon available to book online

No store has a “right” to custom; in the same way no consumer has an obligation to visit a particular store. What the internet has offered is a change in customer behaviour that some retailers have failed to keep up with.”

London serviced apartment company Clarendon Serviced Apartments is reflecting on its 25 years in business and believes brands are failing because they fail to adapt to changing consumer trends. Citing the collapse of HMV into administration, Clarendon UK states that to survive in a competitive marketplace it is vital for businesses to change with developments, rather than hoping they will go away.

To adapt with a changing marketplace, the key to being the first choice of consumers is to understand them.

HMV is the latest high street chain to enter administration. According to BBC News many have taken to social media sites to describe their dismay that the chain, which has 223 UK stores, could disappear. There is hope that buyers will be found for at least a proportion of the stores but with a workforce of around 4,000 the news of the potential demise of the music, DVD and games retailer is a depressing one. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21021073)

HMV is just the latest high street chain to face a rocky economic path. In the same week Blockbusters and camera chain Jessops entered administration. In 2012 Currys, Game and Clinton Cards followed a similar path. A number of factors have been held responsible; consumer behaviour, the rise of iTunes, the desire to download music direct to an MP3 player or laptop, Netflix and Lovefilm, the two most popular film and TV streaming sites that eschew the need for box sets and DVDs.

What the company failed to do, Clarendon argues, is to ignore the rise of the Internet.

“At the heart of the criticism and reasoning is the internet, that somehow it has made the consumer more selfish and less willing to shop on the high street. No store has a “right” to custom; in the same way no consumer has an obligation to visit a particular store. What the internet has offered is a change in customer behaviour that some retailers have failed to keep up with.”

Clarendon UK was founded 25 years ago and has seen a number of distinct shifts and changing patterns in business behaviour. Clarendon’s London apartments are used by a wide variety of customers. They might be used by businesses accommodating individual teams seconded to London on long term assignment or short stays, for executive travellers staying for a week or two or perhaps for families relocating seeking interim temporary accommodation. What makes the offer accessible is the online element, making it easy for customer to browse the options available and choose exactly what they need. A business traveller concerned about London hotel costs may want to search based on price; a traveller exploring a serviced apartment to cover a three-month contract in a new city might be more concerned about its location. Clarendon UK has redefined the search facility on its website making it easier for travellers to search for serviced apartments based on their needs. It makes it much easier for them to find exactly what they’re looking for.

The search facility is not the only tool to help customers. Each apartment features a 360 degree virtual tours meaning when searching for the right apartment, travellers can get a feel of the space they have selected. It makes it much easier for them to make a more informed decision if they know exactly what they are paying for. An online booking service means access 24/7 while a business development team supports any customer needing extra help.

The importance for businesses in the digital age is to understand what the consumer is looking for. HMV and other high street brands have failed to address the shift and have found themselves being left behind. Many are right to say it is because of the Internet that some brands have fallen out of favour but it is often their inability to respond to how the internet has changed consumer behaviour that has left them out in the cold. Business changes because of new technology and changes in shopping habits; successful business needs to keep up.

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Peter Morgan
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