The Death Throes of the High Street – Update February 2019 (Ten years on)
The BBC reported in an article last Thursday 21st of February 2019 entitled City centres ‘Could become Ghost Towns‘ and it reminded me of a three-Part article that I penned in 2010. “The Death Throes of the High Street” which I posted as one item last year.
I have read through the article and have reproduced it today to remind others that the writing was on the wall back in the 1980’s.
The Internet is not the reason for the demise of the High Street but the things that councils were doing during the 70’s and 80’s in the UK.
Little did the councillors and politicians realise that just around the corner was a new threat to their income from the internet that has compounded their situation.
Looking back over the last 10 years we can see the loss of High Street retail icons and the drop of footfall from those very High Streets that have been wealth and job creators for the last 175 years.
Is it too late to save the High Street?
Since writing the original article, there have been many changes in town and city High Streets and the internet High Street.
National and International Chains and established local retailers have disappeared from our High Streets in their droves with those shops becoming the vacant eyesores that demonstrates the rapid decline of town and city centres around the UK.
Graffiti and vandalism have replaced the bright lights and vibrancy of so many of our High Streets that today’s purchasers no longer want to spend time window shopping and making our purchases in real bricks and mortar stores.
Since my first article was published the Mobile phone has become the predominant technology. The small pocket device has your whole world in it.
From banking to communications and the ability to make purchases that do not require you to use cash, bank cards or cheques. Everything is wrapped up in this small device, lose it and your life is gone.
What can Brick and Mortar Retailers Do?
As part of our own research activities, we have continued to carry out User Experience surveys on websites for the last ten years. For our clients and as part of our ongoing knowledge base.
Whilst many of the big online retailers have adapted to the Internet High Street and adopted new business models to take into account the new applications of technology. The vast majority of small independent and medium sized retailers have still not developed effective business models that can exploit the opportunities that the Internet High Street offers.
Without this, they are doomed to the continuing decline in the physical High Street. The digital world has to support the physical world if you want to keep your premises open.
Saving your town centre
In order to save the town centres from decay retailers have to think differently. creating a vibrant destination venue for people is only the start. councils need to make concessions on parking and allow those who want to visit the shops to get close. As we start on a new course as an independent nation again after leaving the EU we must all pull together as merchants and retailers, councils and Governments to make sure that the life is not completely drained from our town centres.
About the Author
After 23 years working in electronics, production and mechanical engineering fields, Nigel T Packer has spent the last 20 years working in the field of business development specifically on the internet.
Being at the start of the digital economy, Nigel has adapted and applied the principles of business development to the rapidly changing scene of the internet. With it, the creation of new Digital business models that work for his online clients.
An author and digital business speaker his book “How to Get a Website that Works for your Business” has helped hundreds of SME business owners understand the principles of online success.
Today Nigel runs a digital consultancy and training practice PelaTis Online Ltd. An independent eBusiness consultancy working with retail, manufacturing and service businesses. His insights and understanding of the way the internet works and the direction it is going makes him the go to consultant for online business success.