Multi-channel retail: the technology that could save the high street

Town centres have been losing out to retail parks for years. But a move towards smart IT could revive city centre retailing.

Inside the Enterprise: The decline of the high street is not a new phenomenon. The growth of out of town retailing - a process that's been ongoing since the 1980s - combined with the recent economic downturn has left some high streets in a desperate state.

Technology, for once, is not the villain of the piece; it could even be part of the high street's rescue plan.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Even where town centres are doing better, experts talk of a "hollowing out", with the centre of towns dominated by nail bars, coffee shops and charity stores on short-term leases, while the brand-name retailers focus on larger, more profitable sites on the edge of town.

Some retailers, and some town councillors, have been quick to blame the internet for contributing to their woes. Online retailers, especially Amazon, have edged out shops in some markets, especially books and music. In high-cost retail environments, where margins can be slender, online only operations can offer discounts and convenience in one package.

But technology, for once, is not the villain of the piece; it could even be part of the high street's rescue plan.

According to a recent report by management consultants at Deloitte, combining technology with physical retailing the so-called "omnichannel" strategy could yet revive high street locations.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The idea behind omnichannel retailing is simple enough, even if it is not simple to carry out. By combining websites and increasingly, apps with physical stores and smart supply chains and logistics, customers can visit a store to order goods for home delivery or order online to pick up later from a shop: "click and collect" services.

Featured Resources

Successful digital transformations are future ready - now

Research findings identify key ingredients to complete your transformation journey

Download now

Cyber security for accountants

3 ways to protect yourself and your clients online

Download now

The future of database administrators in the era of the autonomous database

Autonomous databases are here. So who needs database administrators anymore?

Download now

The IT expert’s guide to AI and content management

Your guide to the biggest opportunities for IT teams when it comes to AI and content management

Download now

Most Popular

Mobile Phones

Microsoft patents a mobile device with a third screen

6 Apr 2020

A critical flaw in 350,000 Microsoft Exchange remains unpatched

7 Apr 2020
video conferencing

Taiwan becomes first country to ban Zoom amid security concerns

8 Apr 2020