In December 2020, Alex Schlagman penned an article for The Telegraph weekend supplement focusing on the future of our dying high streets. He called for what he described as a transition to a more intelligent, collaborative future entitled High Street 3.0 which is making progress already but many retails, big and small still have a long way to go.
Yet I believe there is hope and it can start right now but attitudes need to change to encourage people to stop feeling negative about high street and this starts with the media. We are bombarded with news items about how the high street is dead or in the last throws of death. This only enforces the thought in the consumer’s mind of ‘I shan’t don’t bother with shops and get emotionally attached because they are not going to be there anymore.’ Covid and our reaction to is has only enhanced this idea that shops aren’t the way forward and that online is. That’s the message we are fed repeatedly. However, there is, a percentage of social acceptance at play here. We might not entirely feel good about buying online yet we were encouraged to do so even before 2020. Perhaps if online had only been given the same amount of relentless negativity it may not have caught on so well.
However, our move to shopping online was always on the cards. Giants such as Amazon, and Boohoo, not to mention the countless eating apps which have sprung up that make MacDonalds look outdated, have been creeping in to claim their share of retail revenue for several years now. There hasn’t been a more urgent time to call in the experience of retail through messaging, dangle the communication carrots and drive those all important PR campaigns to boost the high street and some have attempted it so far. In December 2020, Delivered Save The High Street in Guildford launched their video campaign to their retailers to help promote their businesses to help encourage shoppers back into the cobbled and ancient streets of the historic city.