When Written: Aug 2009
Bricks and mortar or TCP/IP and HTML?
Walk down almost any high street today and you will see an alarming number of shops boarded up, not just the small independently run ones but even big anchor shops in precincts have gone. This has obviously been the result of the recession coupled with some over optimistic trading practices no doubt.
Whilst out the other day trying to buy a DVD for a present I was surprised that in our reasonably sized market town that there was now nobody who carried a reasonable selection of DVDs; only the out of town Tesco’s had anything much, but even that was limited to recent releases and piles of discount titles that presumably no one wanted first time round. It really was a depressing exercise.
Comparing this to the on-line experience of the many retailers of DVDs with their huge range and next day delivery, the need to go into town for most things nowadays is reducing rapidly; this also means that the surviving shops will start to suffer as the passing trade reduces. Whilst apparently shopping is the number one leisure pursuit in this country I would suspect most of this is mainly done in the large shopping malls the sort of place that strikes fear into the heart of most men. I started out in retail, working in a Hi-Fi shop and then opening a specialist computer shop.
We had a lot of fun and business was good, even Jon Honeyball became one of our customers, that was obviously before he became as famous as he is today! All good things have to come to an end and the second recession we endured saw the company off. Would I recommend anyone to start up in retail today? Never, unless they had a decent on-line presence to provide the bulk of their business, because the days of people wandering into town to get all their requirements have long gone at least in this neck of the woods and I doubt that we will see them return for a long time, if ever.
The picture is a little better in the more remote areas where I like to holiday but even there the clever businesses have fully embraced the internet to expand their customer base as pressure for their customer’s money begins to come from the big boys. A big Tesco’s and Lidl on the remote Island of Orkney?
Yes I’m afraid it’s already happened, but you can also now buy produce from the local fishermen and farmers via numerous web sites, their produce being shipped all over the world. It’s just not a case of moving the goal posts rather one of the entire game is being reinvented, now is the time not to bury your head in the sand and blame your woes on the recession, but to embrace the new ways of doing business and have fun doing it !
Article by: Mark Newton
Published in: Mark Newton