Look at the way we want to buy, we want convenience and we want it now; we are lazy and can’t be bothered to go and get our shopping. This is a consumer habit driven by convenience, the government can try and tax us online. They can try and re-generate the High Street and invest millions of pounds but unless they convert people it won’t succeed.
Let’s face it, if you can browse online; find a dress, shoes and a hat getting them delivered in less than two hours, either to your work or home address. Whilst not being charged for them until you’re happy, then why would you go to the shop?
The high street is dying due to the investment in technology like augmented reality, high-end video shoots and apps that can help with your purchases, all without having to leave your room.
The speed in which technology and retail buying habits are changing is phenomenally scary but it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. In fact, it’s probably going to get faster until such time as it reaches a critical mass and slows down for online to be the stable part of life and a habit. For example, Dulux has an app for you to redesign your room colour. Renovating your room can made easier with the latest technology cutting around the settee and the furniture, giving you a true representation of what the paint will look like and you can even bring a kitchen or bathroom suite into your home all via the power of the mobile phone in your hand.
So what will we do when the high street is dead?
Well, the high street most likely won’t be completely dead. This is because bars, clubs, pound shops, charity shops, restaurants and coffee shops will continue to thrive. This will be due to socialising increasing with peoples lifestyles and disposable income. In fact, Next have already started transforming their stores to adapt to the way we purchase. They are creating mini department stores at their existing store location by adding Costa Coffee, Paperchase and now Mama & Papas to support the online click and collect.
We need more housing, so turning old shops into houses and flats could start to be seen very soon. With shops now being the new style of the apartment, shopfronts could become a way of advertising rather than allowing people to see through your window into the lounge. This could help local councils bring in a new taxation system on digital advertising and billboards as these will be the new source of business rates in the modern High Street.
What will happen with the huge queues of the world and retail parks? Many of these will still survive but probably more like the Bicester Village Outlet store where you can go and have a deal and part of the social day out. When we were kids that used to be a family day out. Shopping, wow can you imagine taking your kids out today for a shopping trip! No chance.
High Streets may look something like Blade Runner in the future. Cars and hoverboards from shows like Back to the Future will be seen, but in reality, chances are you won’t need all the transport. This will be due to everything being delivered rather than having to go out. Even today I was talking to someone who said they were in Sainsburys and they had a deal ‘buy 6 bottles of wine and get 25% off’ they said ‘well I’m not carrying that back to the car I’ll order online later and get it delivered later in the week’. As you can see its about convenience now not the price point so a couple of percent tax won’t change the new world culture…
Fancy having a guy who owns a bunch of high street chains trying to get the government to help bring in a tax for Online.
I run an Online 100% Pureplay business and under his concept, we would need to pay additional tax. This would just have to be swallowed by us and as margins are tight this wouldn’t work so we would just have to pass on to the consumer. Therefore raising prices.
As we know the price is not the reason online is running away, the retail sector is down to convenience and many high streets and councils actually hinder the buying experience of customers.
I think they need to take a long hard look at themselves to better understand the consumer and what they actually want. We have a cultural change in the world and how we all did business is no longer the way of the future. These companies need to change, adapt or they will end up like T-Rex and extinct.
Mike Ashley, as clever as he is and I can say he has truly done some amazing things in the high street both good and bad. But he needs to start to adapt to the future instead of trying to bring the past back or Mike Ashley will end up like T-Rex.