Is this what Britain's high streets of the future will look like?

Is this what Britain's high streets of the future will look like?
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

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

  • Experience-focused retailers

  • Activity-based businesses

  • Establishments offering flexible work-spaces

  • Green spaces

  • Beacon technology

![the future high street]( 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."

What do you think? Add your thoughts on the high streets of the future below.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.