By Daniel Hunter
The number of high street stores that are closing has risen at an alarming rate according to new research.
Figures from PwC and the Local Data Centre have found that over the last 12 months, an average of 20 shops closed every day. Retailers selling computer games, health foods and cards were among the hardest hit, making up a large percentage of the 7,337 closures last year.
With many calling for drastic change to enable the survival of the high street, Dan Wagner, CEO of mobile payment company mPowa, thinks that shopping should be redefined. He says that as the way we shop changes, the only way for the high street to survive will be to embrace ecommerce, using it to their advantage. He argues the answer is for ecommerce to become ‘everything commerce’ whereby the tools and approaches used online are employed on the high street.
“We are about to see a major shift in the way we shop. The time has gone where we walk around shops, picking items up, carrying them around the shop, queuing up, getting them all out at a till, packing them all away again, so that you can carry them around with you for the rest of the day and all the way home," he said.
“An ‘everything commerce’ mentality will allow unparalleled flexibility regarding transactions. Whether transactions take place in store; completing the whole transaction online in store and having items delivered home, or starting the transaction in store then finishing at home, high street shops will need to adapt to the changing demands placed upon them.”
mPowa’s mobile payment solution is set become a vital part of the evolution of the high street. Instead of being fixed to a stationary till, store assistants are now free to roam shops and accept payments on a mobile phone or tablet, allowing a more fluid transaction process.
“Changing the shopping experience will also mean data available to online retailers is being increasingly utilised on the high street. High street retailers are growing frustrated that they cannot compete with the engagement online transactions offer; being able to suggest other items and predict shopping patterns using customers’ previous purchases," he added.
“I have shopped at one high street chain for 30 years with no recognition. They do not know my tastes or interests so I am given the same standard service as every customer. If ecommerce is embraced on the high street, this can change overnight; customers will be notified of different offers and deals that may suit them via their mobile as they shop. On the high street and in shopping centres, your mobile will become a compass leading you towards potential purchases tailored to your taste.”
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