This week’s report in The Guardian highlights not only that 6,000 shops closed in 2017, but the importance of innovation on the High Street to increase footfall.
Retail Consultant Mary Portas explained in the report that:
We are going through a massive transition. Businesses that are going down are sometimes too big to be nimble and responsive and sometimes they are just mediocre and they haven’t invested in what consumers want. It is about being innovative and creative.
Legacy retailers will need to adopt a new mindset to avoid going the way of Toys R Us and Maplin. What is needed is a great deal of agility, which is undeniably difficult for those struggling under squeezed margins and debt mountains. But the pace of change is only set to increase rather than slow down.
#WDYT has spotted some excellent examples of forward thinking:
- Altrincham’s Yarn Bombing. Images have been widely shared on social media by visitors and Altrincham Bid.
- The Trafford town’s Easter Crafty Crawl encouraged followers to visit shops and cafes, looking for knitted items such as Sydney Spider in Riddles Emporium.
- Ranked 142nd out of 1,300 UK towns and cities, Altrincham has climbed 21 places in the #WDYT Digital Influence Index. Close neighbour Sale, ranks at 331.
- Since their climb, Altrincham hosted the Manchester Marathon. We are looking forward to seeing the town rise up the Digital Influence Influence even further following the event’s fantastic social media coverage.
Innovation also extends to independent retailers such as Cafe au Chocolate in Tewkesbury:
- The Gloucestershire coffee shop has opened a chocolate room next to their coffee shop. The Easter children’s chocolate workshops were incredibly popular.
- Tewkesbury has risen to 51 in the #WDYT Digital Influence Index ahead of towns such as Swindon (57) and Portsmouth (61).
- Cafe Au Chocolate ranks 48th out of all Tewkesbury retailers for digital activity.
#WDYT (What do you think?) is a government endorsed campaign that gives retailers, towns and cities access to innovative tools that are proven to increase digital skills, local footfall and sales.