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