The only constant in life is change… and what an impact it can have on everyday life.
How we communicate, how we can purchase goods from around the world, our increased expectation of services has all increased with great intensity over the last few years. I remember my Father going to Russia on business when I was very young and we did not hear from him for two weeks. Now we hardly go two hours without chatting with a friend in one way or another.
Business needs to evolve to stay ahead and that speed of evolution is rapidly increasing. Standing still is not an option. The dust of your competitors and customers will be a speck on the horizon heading away from you before you realise and our high streets are no different.
The retail sector in the UK, like many other sectors, is in a state of flux. Online shopping is still growing quickly, ten times faster than in store sales growth in supermarkets. The overall size of spend has stayed relatively static and in the past, retailers opened more stores to get more of the pie. Now, those costs are catching up and they cannot afford to have as many premises open.
How we shop has been changing for years. In our supermarkets, the needle moved to pre-prepared food, matching shape and size for our fruit and veg in bags, a swing away from seasonal products to importing from around the world and having more fantastic goods at our fingertips 24/7. Is it now swinging the other way to natural sized product, less packaging, more home cooking from scratch to divert growing health issues?
Evolution is underway both on the high street and how we are shopping. There have been many troubled retailers so far this year and our local Tesco closing is having a major impact on local people.
Reinvention and reinvestment is not often reported as much as store closure. To my knowledge Tesco are reopening in time but in a new format. In the short term it leaves people with less choice and inconvenience.
But back to our high street. Now more than ever we need to be supporting our local market, local shops and our small businesses. Before you do the big weekly shop out of town, go to the butchers and bakers to get their fresh produce. It will add a few minutes to your journey but the money you spend will have a far greater proportion staying in our town and the local supply chain. Before you go and buy papers elsewhere, what about our newsagent and “the Cabin” which never ceases to amaze me the amount they stock. Our DIY shop and hire shop stock great products and have friendly helpful service.
Spending £5 a week locally will have a massive difference. Why not take a step and try it, even for a couple of months, and discover things about our local retailers you never knew.