The Highstreet Isn’t Dead, Yet

As the modern-day consumer routinely opts for the online shopping experience over trudging out of the house, it’s no secret that our high streets have been facing tough times over the last decade – with many large organisations having called it quits, and already tolled the funeral bell for it. However, a recent report by ONS Data suggests that our Highstreet isn’t quite finished with us just yet, and is, in fact, reaching for its coffin bell as we speak, preparing for a comeback.

According to a report produced by ONS Data, the eCommerce sector accounted for £137.38 billion in sales last year, equating to 16% of the retail industries end of year sales figure. Undeniably, that is a huge chunk of business that is, well, literally in the clouds above us and not physically doing much else. So, how can the eCommerce sector be more present, while retaining that business attraction?

Brought to life by Enterprise Nation, one idea to help capture, translate, and ultimately capitalise on the eCommerce industry is to turn the eCommerce businesses into something more tangible, meaningful and experiential to the consumer. Enterprise Nation has teamed up with Amazon (sadly), Square, and Direct line to launch a Pilot scheme, called Clicks and Mortar.

Clicks and Mortar offer small and independent online businesses a chance to experience and trade on the Highstreet – without the extortionate overheads. The scheme aims to do this while also breathing new life into Highstreet by bringing the eCommerce sector to it.

“ It’s about offering online sellers the opportunity to test trade through physical retail, at an affordable price, and within a time frame, you can manage. This is also an opportunity to network with other like-minded businesses in your local area.”-

But, how does Clicks and Mortar work?, I hear you ask. How can an online business work offline? Well, it’s actually simple. The scheme offers a group of up to 10 online businesses the chance to co-host a pop-up shop together, and share the overhead expenses between them. Each pop-up shop is open for 6 weeks, with the online retailers each committing to a minimum of 2 weeks, allowing room for a fresh rotation of offerings. This allows the consumer to physically experience the brand that they could only digitally interact with before.

The Pilot scheme has already launched with the clicks and mortar event having already taken place in Manchester, Sheffield,  Edinburgh and Cardiff,  January 10th 2020 will see a Clicks and Mortar pop-up store in Leeds city centre. Although a scheme like this is not the first Innovative idea to try and resurrect the Highstreet, it is a massive step in the right direction, and this independent thinking and slight sidestep away from the domineering retail conglomerates is tipped to be the next Highstreet trend.

So, maybe, just maybe, that coffin bell will finally be heard.

(P.S. It’s unfortunate that in order to pull the scheme off, the deep pockets of Amazon were needed, but hey, nobody is perfect)

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