Is Internet Shopping Killing Off the High Street?
As more big names reduce their presence on the High Street and some disappear altogether, we ask is Internet shopping really killing the High Street - or is the High Street killing itself?
I am constantly astounded at the lack of merchandising skills, poor customer service and 'head in the sand' mentality of High Street retailers. They want us to enter their less than attractive shops and be served by less than helpful people and then expect us all to actually spend our hard earnt money with them. Of course there are also many retailers that are excellent operators and strangely enough you don't hear of them closing down, do you?
Internet and retail are a partnership. Without retail there could be no Internet. Where could you go to actually see the products? How would you know what your washing machine or tumble dryer would actually look like? How would your new DAB radio sound without listening to it first? I think retailers are quick to find an easy blame source for their woes rather than being pro-active to what is going on around them. If they believe Internet is killing their business, what is their own Internet site like? You can be sure it will be information driven rather than sales driven and be more about 'who we are' than 'what we can do for you'
Internet allows customers choice and value that they simply can't find in many retailers - customers looking for big brands such as Neff, Siemens, Bosch and Elica can view the whole range rather than only be shown the cheapest one by a salesperson more concerned about their commission than finding the customer what they really want. Others such as Luxair, White Knight and Belling wouldn't get a fair representation on the sales floor but are embraced on the Internet.
I agree that times are tough out there but all the more reason to do more for the customer to provide more service, more choice and more value.