This is not another ‘the high street is dead’ post, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Buried amongst news of store closures and struggling department stores, there are some encouraging stories coming from our beloved high streets.
Here we highlight the good news about the high street, celebrating successes from independents to chain stores and bizarrely, this week, museums.
For those worrying of an e-commerce take-over, Google Shopping UK put minds at rest this week emphasising that offline is still “hugely important”. And independents were highlighted by retail experts for their ability to engage the local community and attract footfall with innovative ideas.
High street discounts boost struggling retailers as Brexit nears
The Guardian reports that sales volumes jumped by 1% in January compared with the previous month, providing support to struggling retailers after a slump in the number of goods sold during the Christmas shopping period.
Google Shopping UK emphasises that offline is still “hugely important”
During The Big Bang, a digital marketing conference, digital experts from Facebook, Google, Bing and Feedonomics discussed the problems facing high street retailers.
Michael Wicks, Sales Lead for Google Shopping UK, emphasised that offline is still “hugely important”, but then questioned whether we should re-envision what a store looks like in 2019.
Ben Irons, Strategic Sales Director at Bing Ads UK said “Seeing, touching, feeling what you’re looking to buy – encourages spontaneity and that feeling of euphoria upon purchase. Online can only replicate part of this.”
Indies are keeping the high street alive
During another panel discussion at a fashion trade show, Indie retailers were in the spotlight for how well they engage their local community. Panel experts from Mintel, Down Your High Street and Specialist Retailers discussed how local engagement is critical for brands who want to be here in the future, when the high street will involve a mix of leisure, education and entertainment.
The unlikely stars bucking the High Street slump
As consumers, we are spending more of our money on what we do rather than on what we wear. BBC reported that 52% of adults go to a museum each year and some are visiting these venues specifically for the shops. These venues are moving from being a museum with a shop attached, to a shop with a museum attached.