Over the last few years, we have heard news about a number of stores being forced to make their last sale and close their doors. Just a few names that come to mind are Woolworths and Zavvi Entertainment which went into administration in 2008 and now both only trade online, as well as Borders Bookshops in 2009. We have also been told of other high street chains who are having serious financial problems, such as HMV, who have closed a number of their high street stores.
Speaking to people about these, it is clear that the closure of Woolworths hit people hard, with it being an iconic store across England, which many people have grown up buying from (not just for its pick ‘n’ mix!).
It is clear that there are a number of reasons for the problems across some of our most favourite high street shops, however, I have been asking myself the question, “Is online shopping mainly to blame?“. Plus, after my experience of shopping malls around Christmas time, I also ask, “Do we really need high street stores anyway?“.
Probably about 90% of the presents I bought for people this Christmas, I purchased online. I do enjoy late night shopping, where you wrap up warm, go out to your local town, with the Christmas lights on and people singing carols in the street. However, in the last few years, I find this a more and more stressful experience.
Instead, I could sit on my sofa, with a lovely hot drink, watching TV and order these presents at my own leisure. In a few days, I would have a parcel waiting, with my order, all in pristine condition. Very quick, simple and stress-free. Plus, you get something to unwrap yourself, pre-Christmas! This year, myself and others around me, have found ourselves asking, “What would we do without Amazon!“.
A couple of days after Christmas, I went to a shopping mall for a quick look around. This was a very different story to my relaxed online shopping… I was there, walking behind hoards of people, with screaming children, queues out the door in shops, rails of unsorted clothes and no where to sit for a drink or food, not to mention all the angry people sitting in their cars, driving around the multi-story car park, trying to find a parking space. The day left me feeling worn out, stressed and definitely not in the festive spirit. Also, the whole time I was there, I was thinking, “I could get these products online and they would probably be cheaper…”.
So what do you think? Are these online sites going to take over completely? Will high street stores soon be completely obsolete? Maybe the more important question is – Should we let our high street slowly close down, or should we be working hard to save it? I would love to hear your thoughts.