Not so long ago we had a limited number of in order to shop. We either took a trip into town, shopped from a catalog or we clipped out the coupon and popped it within the post. That was it.
Today however, it comes with an additional place to shop. Today we have the Internet and what a place to shop that is. Despite being the new kid on the block in terms of actual places to shop, the Internet is rapidly overtaking all other locations to shop put together!
So if we now prefer the Internet to satisfy our retail treatment habit, what future does benefit street have?
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Since the first online transaction fourteen years ago, the tide of sales from the high street towards the Internet has been one way, and it’s already been gathering pace.
No longer limited by deficiencies in available retail space, online stores can hold huge inventories that their bricks and mortar counterparts can only desire. Fashion stores in particular, rather that electrical or home ware shops, have taken advantage of this new discovered freedom and can now offer limitless fashion ranges and a wider selection of sizes within those ranges. Help to increase that a virtual fashion adviser, a method selector and online fashion displays, it’s no wonder that the bricks plus mortar fashion stores future looks uncertain.
It’s no surprise that high-street fashion stores also have an online presence, because the alarm bells have been ringing for a while. At least one well known name in catalog and home shopping has observed Internet sales overtake it’s traditional catalogue sales this year and has replied accordingly. In monetary terms alone, the return on investment on the Internet far outweighs the return of investment from a printed catalogue. The costs of creating a printed catalogue are huge, which is unsustainable if the switch to the Internet proceeds.
Without having a crystal ball, it’s fair to say that sooner or later (probably sooner), shopping trips to town and flicking through a catalogue will be more of an exercise in nostalgia compared to necessity.
To combat the golf swing away fro traditional shopping outlets, it’s hard to see how the high road and the catalogues can compete. There are just too many advantages to shopping online.
At the moment at least, high street fashion stores are playing their part in the entire shopping mix and I’d suggest we should use them or before long we’ll lose them.