High Streets are great places. Trade, creativity and community are the basis of civilisation.
Unfortunately society has found an easier and cheaper (and less fun method) of getting what it wants – online shopping has massively affected every part of our high streets. Laziness has become the enemy of the shopkeeper (no I don’t think it’s Amazon’s fault!)
High Streets will have to become very different places to survive. Online shopping is a cultural sink hole that isn’t going to go away. It will mean that our high streets are no longer centres of creativity and community, trade and commerce. They will be centres of coffee shops, charity shops & chain stores.
Town councils need to work hard to allow independent business/retail to still flourish. We all need to think differently about the term “shop” and what shopping is actually about.
I have noticed recently that when I go to London the shops are becoming more like showrooms than shops. Brands have realised that the long term gain is much larger than the short. Space is becoming a premium. It is expensive to fill a shop with stock. It is much better for the brand to engage and entertain the consumer and ensure that they come back to them and buy online in the long run.
It should be possible for small town high streets to work in the same way. Websites are now cheap. You can readily buy a template to put your products within. As long as your photography is on point and your branding is well conceived you will be able to sell if you know how to use social media and are a committed shopkeeper. All the online seller would need would be access to some empty retail units to showcase its goods from time to time.
Wouldn’t it be great if small businesses & independents could rent short term reasonably priced premises on the high street to show off the goods which they actively sell online?
Come on councils – start to think different. Open up those empty shop units and get our high streets flourishing again…