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Blood Bath on the High Street

The struggle to help the high street thrive continues to be problematic.

Recent research from real estate adviser Altus Group estimates that over 23,000 shops are expected to close in 2019, with a predicted loss of 175,000 jobs.

With changing shopping habits, the Office for National Statistics claims there are just 5,830 butcher shops on the high street compared to 15,000 in 1990.

Between 2017/18 there were 1,219 restaurant insolvencies, up 24% on the year before and nearly double the rate seen in 2010/11 with independently-owned restaurants bearing the brunt.

Even high-profile retailers like Marks and Spencer, ToysRUs and HMV are underperforming and struggling to compete against the likes of Amazon and other online players.

Of course, there is uncertainty over Brexit, rising staff costs, higher business rates and parking restrictions and costs; but retailers have to find a way to survive due to the slump in the value of retail property.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

The most successful retailers have realised that they need to think outside the box if they want to stay relevant and attract more customers.

The trend for the “experimental” shopping-led experience is not only helping to build a buzz about the business but it helps them to improve the in-store experience for their customers.

Technology is making this happen and who better than Amazon to lead the way in this area.

They recently opened its bricks-and-mortar experimental store AmazonGo. No cashiers, lots of high-tech and a unique retail experience.

Customers grab their items off shelves and leave with their items. When they exit the store, sensors pick up the RFIDs on all their items and automatically charge their Amazon account.

So what next for retailers?

It’s important that business owners really start to get inside the head of their target customers so that they better understand and respond to their needs.

This will ensure your customers stay loyal because you are offering the products, services and experience that will continuously meet their needs.


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