As Marks and Spencer’s closes many of its stores and Homebase gets sold for a pound, the high street is undoubtedly under pressure. With more people shopping online, the physical shops are struggling to keep up. Non-food sales online have by 7.5% in the past year and it is easier than ever to “buy a sofa on the bus, a designer handbag from the sofa or a new kitchen while in bed.”
According to The Guardian, rising costs, consumption fatigue, high-street decline, bad management and a spending squeeze are the reasons why Britain’s retailers can’t make ends meet. So what can be done about this? As an agency who counts a number of shopping centres as clients, we know the importance of giving customers more of an experience than just somewhere to buy their goods. They need a reason to get out of the house and actually go to the shop.
For shopping centres this means adding more leisure activities to the centre and ensuring that they are a destination in themselves and for shops it means offering something they cannot get online. Whether this is in-store exclusives as opposed to online, in-store offers, or as John Lewis recently launched at its Oxford store, a ‘concierge service’ .