Traditionally, bricks and mortar retail stores have been synonymous with the way we choose to shop. However, as E-Commerce rises in popularity, there is growing uncertainty over what the high street will look like; let’s say in the next ten years or so.
The bitter truth is, the future looks bleak for the high street and the traditional bricks and mortar landscape.
Take the case of Toys ‘r’ Us for example. A once upon a time toys powerhouse has just gone into administration after it failed to pay a tax bill amounting to £15 million.
With its impending fall, unless something miraculous happens, there is a growing risk of a loss of more than 3,000 jobs. To ensure its store portfolio winds down in an orderly manner, Administrator Moorfields has been appointed to oversee the process.
This winding down just shows how bad things are for the high street stores that have been a convenience for millions of shoppers. Of late, even the friendly shopkeepers, who used to provide so many valuable extra services, are no longer an attraction
More customers are looking for an easier way of getting to “shop around,” and give more thought to an item before buying. With the growth of online commerce, one can accomplish all this, at home, whilst at work or even stuck in traffic.
This has caused optimism around the future of bricks and mortar stores to hit rock bottom of late.
They are simply no match for that ease of shopping enabled by online retailers.
However, there is renewed confidence that through the adoption of technology led methods, some of the remaining stores can be salvaged.
As Toys ’r’ Us is grappling with the harsh reality of an increased preference for a more interactive and sensory customer shopping experience; it is doing everything to give its customers a soft landing.
As they seek a new buyer, the store will remain open as they sell the remaining stock, albeit at massively discounted prices. It is not only Toys ‘r’ Us that is falling victim; in addition, Maplin, a national electronics specialist, has also been forced into administration.
Falling consumer expenditure, competition from online stores and inflation are some of the reasons forcing these two high street giants into administration. However, many regard online retail as the main killer of physical retail.
This sorry story does not mean that all is doom and gloom for the UK’s high street. The traditional retail bastion forms a source of inspiration for the on-liners and most importantly, can act as point of collection for those ordering goods online.