3 trends that are great for the high street

3 trends that are great for the high street
We’re seeing three consumer trends emerging against this backdrop that don’t just make us optimistic for the future of high street retail. They make us extremely excited, if as a retail community we seize them.

It can sometimes feel like the future of retail belongs to the internet. Yes there are articles about ways to improve your high street store, but on the whole conversation is dominated by eCommerce strategies and tactics. You could easily be forgiven for thinking ‘innovation’ and ‘the high street’ no longer belong in the same sentence.

We’re seeing three consumer trends emerging against this backdrop that don’t just make us optimistic for the future of high street retail. They make us extremely excited, if as a retail community we seize them.

Trend 1 - ‘Uberificiation’

Otherwise known as the growth of the on-demand economy. Uber has taught us that our phones can get us most things in just a few taps. Whether that’s a taxi, a takeaway meal, or a cleaner.

So what does this mean for retail? Shoppers now expect to have what they want at a place and a time that’s convenient for them. A staggering 38% now expect same-day or 1-hour delivery as a choice when purchasing, and click-and-collect is expected to grow at almost twice the pace of eCommerce through to 2021.

This presents a fantastic opportunity for high street retailers. Shops are inherently already close to shoppers, and able to offer in-store collection or 1-hour delivery a lot more easily than you might expect.

Trend 2 - Growth Of Online-To-Offline

Closely related to Uberification is the growth of online-to-offline behaviour. We used to be worried as retailers of ‘showrooming’ (browsing in-store, then buying online). Today that trend is reversing, with a growing number of customers researching online and buying offline.

Google has published stats about this which paint a positive picture for retail:

Shoppers are increasingly valuing the web for research, but then using the store for the convenience of the purchase itself.

Ensuring your business and products are visible when shoppers make these searches are key to capitalising on this trend. If someone taps into their phone “dry shampoo near me” you want your product and store to appear. Doing this is easier than you’d expect, and puts you squarely on a customer’s radar.

Trend 3 - Importance of Experience

This might not come as a surprise, but when coupled with trends one and two it is increasingly important. Shoppers value retail as a destination not to browse endless aisles of products (they can do this online!), but instead as a means to finalise a purchase decision.

Something as small as checking whether a £5.99 soap dispenser seen online comes in a cheap plastic container or a premium glass container that will look good on a bathroom shelf matters to shoppers. It’s easy to imagine the importance of experience in luxury and fashion, but it can be applied to almost every category if you look closely.

We know that this is particularly true for millennials over-index, so if you make it easy for them to find and experience the products in your stores then you can expect to be rewarded by them accordingly.

What Next

It might seem as retailers that there is an irreversible shift towards pure play online retail. At NearSt we firmly believe the pendulum is swinging back towards high street retail and now is a more exciting time than ever to be in the industry.

Over the next few months we’ll dive deeper into ways retailers can adapt their businesses to these trends. We’ll also reveal specific tactics we’ve seen succeed with our partner retailers.

Nick - Co-Founder NearSt

Written for us by Nick, co-Founder at NearSt. We like them because they’re thinking outside the box when it comes to bringing customers into physical stores. Do check them out. This post is not sponsored and we’ll be hearing more from Nick as he shares their learnings.


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