Bricks & Mortar retail is definitely under threat of change do or die worldwide. Times have changed across traditional retaling, traditional marketing, advertising and business for all sectors and industries online and offline.
Who wants to see their High St derelict with empty shops and empty buildings? I certainly do not. Regardless of the competitive technological changes and threats of giants like Amazon, Alibaba, Google, Instagram and others, I feel all High St bricks & mortar retail shops do have a future. High Streets are where people regardless of busy lifestyles, seek shops or stores as they drive, journey or travel worldwide.
Without the High St many people will be forced to visit busy malls, shop online or mobile and all with risk or limitations. There is certainly no perfect platform or shopping experience online or offline. Even Amazon or Alibaba has limitations like, can I get delivery now or can I try that dress, shoes or suit on now. Or if I am driving can I order a drink or a sandwich on my way? This is why we need local, national and global high streets.
We need to save all High St shops and businesses for more reasons than one. High streets are not just about shopping they are the core and cornerstone of micro, small and SME businesses where people [not robots] startup, entrepreneur, innovate, empower, create employment, household incomes, tax, achieve economic power and exercise social democracy. Try that online! Also, only in the High St can you see a variety of humans of all nationalities, tongues and people shopping, communicating and exchanging, this cannot be seen or experienced online or mobile. The High St isalso “personal‘, immediate, providing bodily, mental exercise, chance and need to support local businesses with our vehicles or hands filled with bags happily on our way home.
How Can Retailers & Retailing Survive Web, Mobile & Digital Explosion?
First they have to get connected. I challenge anyone to walk down their nearest High St and ask all businesses, stores & shops this question: ‘Do you have a website?’ You will be amazed at the response most do NOT have a website. Plus, most are not eagerly interested in being web, digitally or mobile connected. Yet although this may sound alarming or strange there are valid reasons [to them] for such a stance or response. To juggle or balance the online and offline world for anyone is VERY hard or near impossible daily. Most people are either PRO online or offline daily. Few can do what I call the ninja approach and tap both online and offline all in one day, across leading platforms and still get time, rest and reward with family and friends.
Retailers and retailing also takes long hours, focus, stock control, staff, business and security management etc. The same is true for the online world and this is what largely seperates the TWO worlds. As stated, most people cannot do both worlds. Just read Ralph Lauren is facing retail trouble also BeBe is closing four brick & mortar Houston stores. These two articles is what has spurned me to write this article as I feel the TIME for retailers and retailing to begin listening and re-evaluating their offline and online strategies is NOW. You either listen or die of a slow and painful death and there are many online and offline examples to prove what is being suggested or stated.
I have walked many high streets and spoken to many businesses of different sizes and even the WAY most businesses and people as individuals use the web is wrong. All I will say is, most use the Internet like a human-machine posting, tweeting, content writing or photo selfies without considering or realizing why am I doing this? What do I get from this? Do I own what I am posting, tweeting, writing or doing on most or all platforms? Can I get website visits or social exposure or benefit for my work or time? Every platform is different and not all platforms online give you the right to own your own photos or information.
Retailers and retailing face the same predicament Who Owns Your Content? This could be shared rights so there are many plans, strategies, aspects and conditions one has to seriously consider when embarking on a journey of web, mobile and digital. In the world of e-commerce this is a VERY controlled landscape online, as Facebook and Google control 70% of online search and advertising. Also Amazon, Alibaba, WalMart are the dinosaurs of e-commerce rapidly biting into the offline world like an Octopus across all products, services and industries. So what does one have to do to stand a chance of winning online and offline are:
- Plan local, national and or global
- Plan across ALL devices
- Plan bilingual
- Plan niche or broad base with e-commerce
- Plan and turn your business into an Amazon, Google or Facebook mindset, at least take the best competitive strategies and parts
- Think like a ninja, you are now master of all combat styles and approaches to defense and attack in business online and offline
- Think staff or team? Not all maybe team and not all team maybe staff, though all are paid
- Think mobile
- Think digital and this does not just mean web and mobile
- Think pricing or think system of pricing, the funnel is what brings you leads and profit
- Think multidemensional, omnichannel and multimedia all have a role to play
- Think social, this is more than social media this could be local, national and global online and offline
- Think SEO, PPC, Content, Email list etc
- Think delivery and returns [still a nightmare for most businesses and customers but improving]
Customers also need to STOP the e-commerce hustle of order, wear, return or credit card cancel and claim games etc. This only hurts jobs, sales and high streets worldwide.
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Have a great day,
Paul Branson aka Infogurushop