The pandemic has caused a major change in the way we live our lives and in the way we shop. Shops have been refurbished to accommodate the social distancing rules, or have had to close completely and take their business online. From the smallest town to major city centers, businesses everywhere are under pressure to save their establishments and trade. It is hard to pay the high street rental costs without customers, so businesses have had to connect with their customers on a different level, and by different means. Business tax, rents, operational costs, staffing costs and running costs all remain high, but with no customers. How do businesses manage in today’s uncertain times?
The imposed lockdown became a great opportunity for individuals to start their online businesses. The e-Commerce sector has seen huge growth during the pandemic. As a result, many of Britain’s shopping centres are beginning to look decidedly threadbare because of e-commerce.
Without a doubt, the demand for online shopping is a major factor in the decline of the “high street.” In an article by The Guardian, it shows that retail sales dropped by 3.8% last November 2020 on the previous month as the coronavirus lockdown in England. Restrictions elsewhere in the UK forced businesses in the high street to shut down.
Before that, there had been a six-month period of increased sales, such figures show the impact of the pandemic on the sector as the virus rate increased across the country.
If one would walk down along a British shopping street, you can probably see empty shops or signs advertising shutting down sales. Worry is still evident in many business owners for as long as the virus is untreated, a lot of business can still face peril in the near future.
Does Physical Retail Still Have a Role to Play?
Despite many physical stores finding themselves in dire straits, their problem may have found an existing solution. Ironically, e-commerce has been around even before the lockdown but has been more prominent when the lockdown was imposed. E-commerce is helping many small businesses survive by providing them with access to a global market.
Although we can agree that this alone would not be enough to woo customers back offline. Still, it gives businesses a marketing opportunity to continue their services either both physical or digital.