Did you know 54% of Gen Z say they’ll shop entirely online in the next decade?
When looking at data like this it wouldnt be unreasonable to ask, will high street business remain feasible if they they don’t evolve?
Of course, there are still many pluses to shopping in-store, from physically viewing and feeling the products to the in-store experience of finding products you weren’t looking for, interacting with store staff and reaping their knowledge and enjoying a meander around a shop simply browsing and taking in the atmosphere. However, the physical world of retail needs to reflect the virtual one.
High street businesses will need to keep up with the shift in consumer habits and evolve. This is especially prevalent with the younger and emerging generations. Remember these are the shoppers who will be using the high street in 10 to 20 years’ time.
The High Street Needs to Embrace The Digital World.
Just take a look at how Amazon his approaching the high street by rolling out its Amazon Fresh stores. These are designed to reflect an online display and price offerings and customers can pick up their goods, pop them in the ‘virtual basket’ and simply walk out of the store without having to physically pay.
Payment is then automatically charged on your account. It has the semblance of the old high-street but the convenience and sustainability of a cashless world.
This trend has undoubtedly been driven by the preferences of young people, who much prefer the ease and convenience that digital touchpoints offer. This is backup by data showing that half of ****millennials and Gen Z care more about digital technology in high street shops than prices suggests that they would like to see digital improvements at their local corner shop.
So, how could this concept be used on the high street how can this be achieved?
Brands need to incorporate touch points such as digital signage and QR codes that provide an interactive element to the shopping process and quick access to information.
Although a lot of young people like shopping online, 60% of Gen Z think in-store experiences need to be improved when asked how this can be achieved the majority of respondents said physical stores need to become more of a social space This was closely followed by having more QR codes/access to quick information (44%) and better music and lighting (29%).
We can take from this that to draw GenZ back to high street shops the owners need to offer more of a social experience. They simply can’t rely on the products within a store as they might have before. Store owners need to create an experience for the customer with digital spaces with a mixture of social activities.
If retailers want to see Gen Z venturing into physical stores they need to provide an experience for their services and products that can not be found online. Without this the basic existence of a shop in its simplicity will no longer good enough and potentially, inevitably, the high street will all but disappear.
Younger generations have been brought up with full digital experiences and lest we forget the impact of lockdowns during the COVID pandemic where all but essential stores closed and online shopping was the only way to access any form of retailer. They really don’t know anything else and when you consider that they enjoy speed and convenience and that this is exactly what eCommerce offers, it is no surprise that this is what they want should they physically go to a shop.
That’s why we think it’s crucial that brands embrace and harness the advantages of the online world within physical stores and seek to create a social space that Gen-Zs are excited about.
So, if you want to dust off your brand and bring it firmly into the digital age why not get in touch?