Posted: Thu 14th Feb 2019
Experience-focused retailers, activity-based businesses and flexible workspaces will be key features of Britain's future high streets, a new report claims.
Commercial finance company ABC Finance asked the public why they no longer make regular trips to our local retail areas and what would tempt them back.
A fifth of respondents said their visits to the high street are months apart because they can't currently find value in what's on offer.
And while 38% said most or all of their shopping is with online stores, 56% said that they would prefer to spend their money with independent local retailers rather than big chains.
What will bring consumers back to the high street?
The statistics are stark. Since January 2018, 1,300 stores have closed, mostly among large retailers focused on maximising profits amid declining footfall. Visitor numbers fell by 4.2% across the UK between 2017 and 2017, equivalent to a drop of 3 million customers.
Analysts say this has all led to 7million square foot of unused retail space.
ABC Finance said the whole local retail environment needs to change and local authorities should look at new ways to draw people away from their mobile devices and out of town retail parks.
The report suggested high streets of the future should feature the following:
Food and drink establishments
Establishments offering flexible work-spaces
![the future high street](https://enterprisenation.blob.core.windows.net/enterprisenation/a5c2108e4b30e911a975002248072cc3/high street future.jpg)
Property influencer Vicki Wusche said: "We need to radically rethink the way that people shop at brick and mortar retailers. I would like to see high street shops return to older values of experience-driven customer service.
"I would happily pay a bit more to have expert advice and a cup of tea while I shop."
Jack Rogers, a customer service and e-commerce manager, said despite the popularity of online retailer, customers are increasingly wanted good physical experiences.
"I work closely with consumers on a daily basis and, increasingly, I'm hearing that people would much rather go and experience something or test the product out in person," he said.
"One comparison that springs to mind is how vinyl records have made a comeback. Are they better or more convenient? No. It's all about the experience."