DEATH OF THE HIGH STREET SHOP AS INTERNET SHOPPING BOOMS – A report in the MailOnline today suggests that 1 in every 5 stores in our high street face closure within the next 5 years due to the continuing rise in online shopping.
Full Story: daily mail
Do you prefer shopping online or do you still enjoy a day out shopping in stores? Have your say… leave your comments below.
We have already witnessed in the past year alone a number of high profile retailers going into administration, including Jessops and Comet and both these collapses were in part due to the rise in internet shopping.
The issue for most high street retailers is the ever rising costs associated with running a store. Rent alone can be crippling enough and then you have the greed of the local councils to levy excessive council tax on local shops.
Years ago I had a small retail shop selling arts and crafts and my local council tax was 50% of my rent. What did I get for my council tax? Nothing to be honest, I was even forced to buy ‘council bin bags’ at £1.50 each otherwise the council refused to remove my rubbish.
Eventually I decided to move my business from the high street to a virtual online store. I managed to slash my operating costs to less than 10% and therefore witness a healthy growth in profits. The spare bedroom became my office, store room and dispatch centre and I now had a global market place to boot.
Studies have found that people now, for a large part, prefer to shop online. There are not pressuring sales staff and one is permitted to browse at one’s leisure without feeling compelled to buy anything.
There is also the convenience factor in that it is no longer necessary to organize the kids, bundle them in the car and then have the issues and cost of parking.
There are literally thousands of people across the UK that choose to do their weekly grocery shopping online; knowing that they can sit in the comfort of their own home and wait for the delivery van.
Many people who shop online have also reported huge savings; especially when it comes to groceries. Because our kids are not being dragged around the supermarket they can’t pester parents for extra treats and the bombardment of sales offers within stores to tempt us into spending more than necessary is also often removed.
Some of the biggest names in the high street, such as M&S, Tesco, Wickes and others, have begun to seriously scale back on the construction and opening of very large stores due to rising costs and shrinking profits.
In times of economic difficulties the shopper simply wants a better deal and finding that deal is simply much easier online rather than pounding the pavement from shop to shop.
There are simply so many benefits to retailing and shopping online but this is having an effect on unemployment. As the large retailers either go bust or opt for an online presence this inevitably reduces the need for staffing.
The internet has been a revolution for many, especially the one-man-bands who have been able to compete on a global scale with even the largest corporations.
Take Meebal.com as an example – there is no way I could ever produce the articles I do if I had to produce a physical magazine or newspaper; setting up a publishing facility would run into tens of millions and yet the internet has allowed me to compete, on a global scale, with the likes of the best online media services.
The web will continue to grow and over time I suspect the high street shopping experience will become a thing of the past. It is simply a matter of commercial evolution and a retailer must, if it wants to survive, gain a larger audience with lower operating costs and the only way to achieve that in the age of electronic communication is to have an online presence.