Is there life in the high street?
Is the British high street dead? It’s a question that’s making the rounds. Some like to claim that it is on its last legs, particularly since the collapse of staple chains such as Jessops and HMV, though this may be exaggerated. There is no doubt that the internet has at least changed the way we shop, with more and more consumers choosing to shop online in the last few years – improved internet security and greater familiarity with online systems are only adding to the boom. According to a survey by the government regulator OFCOM, internet shopping is more popular in the UK than anywhere else in the world! But is this something to celebrate?
While some high street retailers may struggle as a result of the internet, others have embraced it. The advantages are clear – online shopping means avoiding busy shopping malls and drizzly streets, and cheaper prices as retailers’ lower overheads are passed on to customers. But at the same time, certain aspects of high street shopping remain popular
with many consumers, such as the ability to see before you buy, make returns more easily, and avoid waiting for the postman to arrive before getting your hands on your goodies.
Savvy online retailers are beginning to up their game and find ways around
these issues, and perhaps this is part of the reason why internet shopping has become so popular. Faster deliveries and the ability to return goods without too much hassle have begun to tempt people to shop online even more. Services such as Collect Plus at isme.com allow people to pick up their online shopping from local stores, meaning no more waiting for the postman. This service is also a great example of online and high street shopping working together, with online retailers relying on high street shops to help them out. It also demonstrates that there will always be a role for the high street, as long as it is willing to diversify and adapt.