Saving our High Street

While online shopping continues to develop easy, no-fuss shopping at the click of a button, the high street is always going to fall into second place in terms of speed and convenience. It’s true – being able to type in a shop name and watch your screen load every item of new, old or sale clothing and accessory in the blink of an eye, certainly has its perks over traipsing the high street… but surely there’s a reason our street shops have lasted so long?

Maybe it’s the eclectic nature of the stores on display? Online, the biggest brands and most well-known names are searched day in day out, but what about the pop-up shops, or independent retailers, offering a little glimpse of individuality, discount and sass? These little gems have rightfully earned a place in every shopper’s heart and without the high street we’d never know they existed!

Not convinced? Okay, how about a combination of the two? Take Broad Street Mall, just one of many retail shopping complexes in the UK. By combining the best of outdoor shopping with an easy layout, a vast mix of retail options, and the added comfort of being indoors – it’s win-win!

Over the years, several studies have been carried out with the aim of working out how to best support local shopping areas in order to keep them up and running. In a previous article, the BBC discussed a number of government schemes that have been introduced to try and give shopping areas a boost. But the overriding thought was how to engage the locals to help too.

Through a scheme called Totally Locally, the suggestion was that if every adult spent £5 a week in their local independent stores then it would add an extra six million a year to the economy. That’s huge, but is it entirely sustainable? Stepping away from your usual shopping spots and trying to remember that there are other (often better) options available would be a useful starting point.

One such example could be this: instead of popping to your local supermarket to top up the vegetable supplies, why not pop to a local farm shop, or market stall? Sure, your potatoes might need a clean, or your apples may not shine so brightly you can see your reflection, but what real food does? We’ve become so reliant on the over processed foods displayed on our shelves that it’s practically offensive to us to consider having to prepare it ourselves.

The same could be said for clothes shopping. Getting out and about is not only far better for us, but also provides a whole user experience. The coffee break, a spot of lunch, sales as soon as they hit the shelves – and they’re just a couple of examples. How about the idea of ‘making a day of it’? It’s far easier to sit at home and click through endless clothing examples, that’s correct, but what happened to having fun trying things on and socialising?

One thing is for sure, if the shops suddenly disappeared we’d sure miss them, so why not pay yours a visit this weekend?

This is a guest post

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