The retail landscape has evolved hugely over the past few years, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the high street.
A new wave of technological advances and the growing influence of online retailers such as Amazon means much of the high street is in serious crisis mode.
Understandably, many working in the retail industry have a bleak outlook and believe the end of the high street is upon us.
“As demand for retail units has decreased, the market is starting to shift in favour of tenants particularly outside London”
However, I strongly believe the changing nature of the high street creates fresh opportunities for businesses to truly stand out and profit.
At my company iSmash we’ve seen increasing consumer demand for the services we offer and plan to expand our store count from 26 to 70 across the UK by 2020.
We’ve found as the demand for retail units has decreased, the market is starting to shift in favour of tenants particularly in some regions outside London.
When we expanded the iSmash store footprint to regional cities, we discovered this allowed us to negotiate better deals for prime retail units.
For businesses that are seeking to grow, there has actually never been a better time to get a good deal on retail space and reduce operating costs.
If, like us, you are a business that draws high footfall, investing in prime retail space is more often than not worth the risk.
The digital shift is impacting the success of bricks-and-mortar stores as consumers increasingly turn online for their purchases.
However, brands that are smart and ensure their online and offline presences overlap can benefit in the current climate. As we expanded to regional high streets, we invested heavily in making sure our digital offering complemented our high street presence.
For many retailers, online needs to be treated as a priority channel for acquiring new customers, whether that be through social media, SEO or on-site optimisation.
A large proportion of our customers search for repair services online but need to be served in-store in order to take advantage of our express while-you-wait service – businesses need to identify a reason for consumers to come in-store and communicate that message effectively.
“Rather than fear the digital shift, there is a real opportunity for businesses on the high street to embrace the current climate”
Because of this we streamlined our online presence with the sole view of driving customers into stores.
My experience lies mostly in the technology market but I believe the trends here mirror those happening in other sectors.
The future of tech repair is entirely led by our customers and what they value above all else is speed and convenience – something we have actively built our business and mission statement around.
Rather than fear the digital shift, there is a real opportunity for businesses on the high street to use all the tools at their disposal and embrace the current climate.