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The Future of The High Street

With all the most horrific statistics coming out yesterday, for anyone who loves the high street (well what it used to be), or owns a shop (!) it was all pretty scary. You see here’s the thing, the businesses which are failing haven’t worked out how to succeed in these times. So getting facts straight, and so we can all understand that the high street, is such an opportunity, for those of us who think differently, here’s who’s suffering: Poundland, Claire’s Assecories, Debenhams, Newlook, Carpetright and Homebase. Is anyone shocked? I’m not. So you can imagine these guys take up a lot of the room in these terrible statistics. Then you have the categories with the largest issues, who haven’t worked out how to change with society and the ease of online – pubs (the young are not nearly drinking as much as we used to!), electrical goods, fashion, newsagents and estate agents. Word count will not let me go into these areas specifically, but if you spend a moment – it’s just not surprising. BUT, guess what areas are doing really well; seeing growth and good numbers? Everything NOT-ON-THE-INTERNET! Yes, the industries and businesses doing really well are the shops giving people an EXPERIENCE.

So cafes (thank F**k!), ice cream parlours, barbers, beauty salons, independent restaurants and independent bars (thank double F**k!). Spaces where you need to be physically present – are winning. And so here’s my theory and what I’m building – the future of the high street will be won by those who allow their brand to amplify physically and digitally. So what you do physically (well until we are all wearing headsets) you can’t do online, and what you do online is complimented physically, but it has a far more utilitarian feel. For me, I just see the opportunity for brands to stop being so 2D online and start to push themselves to understand what is the ‘living 3D experience’ of their company. Because we all want to go to our high streets/communities, it’s just the high street isn’t doing a good enough job, to draw people back! I collect ‘High Street’ books and this is a fav by Alice Melvin.

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