The high street has changed so much over the years. I remember when I was younger, going to our local town on a Friday during the Summer holidays was a treat. I used to love walking around the shops, and up until the last few years, I still loved walking around the shops. But in recent times, the high street just isn’t what it used to be. Is online shopping slowly taking over, and if it is, what does that mean for our high streets?
Years ago I worked in retail for quite some time. I enjoyed it while it lasted. There used to be something quite infectious about the hustle and bustle of the shops, especially at Christmastime. These days, I have to be honest, I can’t stand Christmas shopping anywhere other than on my sofa, on the laptop – or even my iPhone. Which makes me wonder, if I am like this, then how many others are and are we killing our high street shops?
I love a bargain. I hate spending more than I have to. If I want, to find the best price in the shops on the high street, I have to traipse around every shop that sells the item I want to find it the cheapest. At home, for example, if I wanted to find the best 2018 tech deals, I can do a quick search and before I know it, I’ve found the best online shop with the best price, for the cheapest delivery. As sad as I am that this impacts on our high street, I know which one I am going to choose, time and time again. Because it’s what is best for me, financially.
Not only do I find the best bargain by online shopping, but I am busy. I don’t always have the time to go shopping. Online shopping is time-saving and convenient. Last year I actually did all of my Christmas shopping, on my phone in the space of half an hour. No word of a lie. If that’s not efficient, I don’t know what is.
For someone who hadn’t started Christmas shopping an hour ago, I’ve managed to do it all this evening. On my phone.
That’s how it’s done. ?
— Jaki (@jakijellz) 21 November 2017
Of course, this is great for us as consumers. We can get on with our busy lives, safe in the knowledge that our time is being used in the most efficient way. But what does it mean for the people who work in the shops? Are they going to be out of a job soon? We see more and more shops closing down because they are just not making the revenue, yet their online shops are thriving. This is people’s livelihood that is being affected. What does the future hold for them?
I asked a couple of my blogger friends for their opinions, and what they think the future holds.
“I’m torn. I love the convenience of shopping online, delivery to your door and the fact that you can often save money through cashback sites or codes. However I love going into to an actual shop and exploring what they have to offer, trying things on and seeing fabrics and colours in real life. It saves the hassle of sending things back and feels like a real treat. I also love the social aspect of meeting friends (or my mum for shopping and lunch, encouraging each other to make purchases outside of their comfort zone and giving brutally honest opinions! I don’t think anything beats that. Although I will often shop online for convenience and value, I will never give up on the high street!” – Jennifer from mymummiespennies.com
“Shopping online for clothes is my idea of hell. As a larger lady I can’t just order something and know it will fit. I love going to real shops to see what’s available and to try things on. I really hope online doesn’t completely take over!” – Lyndsey from mehimthedogandthebaby.com
“I think online shopping will definitely increase more and a lot of high street shops will probably end up online. I don’t think we’ll see the end of physical clothing stores, though, as people enjoy browsing and trying on before buying. Things like travel agents though, and even banks I can see becoming entirely based online, as people become more technologically confident, the convenience of using places like that online, coupled with the lower cost for the company will make it more likely for the physical store to needed.” – Hayley from missmanypennies.com
The general consensus is that smaller shops will remain on the High Street. Independent shops may well stand a chance of survival in a world where huge chains have taken over considerably over the last twenty to thirty years. This is great news. But generally, it seems we are huge online fans and it doesn’t seem like that is likely to change any time soon. It’s a sign of the times and a sign of the modern age. It doesn’t seem like we have much choice other than to embrace it.
What are your thoughts? Do you think we have seen the end of the high street? Perhaps you prefer to browse the shops over surfing the web? Let me know in the comments.
Written in collaboration