Time for high street retailers to take control of their destinies

With more stores closing than opening and the only growth on the high street being from charity shops, bookies and cheque cashing outlets, it is time that retailers took control of their own destinies, according to mobile commerce entrepreneur and CEO of Powa Technologies, Dan Wagner.

High street shops are closing at a rate of 18 a day according to new data from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Local Data Company. Dan argues that stores should focus their efforts on attracting customers back by embracing new technology and digital online shopping methods.

He commented, “There is massive pressure on the high street at present and although many are being crippled by business rates, stores still have the responsibility to evolve with their customers. Technology will be instrumental in the much needed changes that have to take place if stores are to survive closure. But this must be accompanied by a change in the mind-set of those at the helm of the businesses. Only when shops make a conscious effort to do something innovative to reverse their fortunes can progress take place.

“For instance, high street shops can do more to make their shoppers feel more valued by offering them a bespoke service with personalised recommendations. The web has done this for a long time and has reaped the rewards; physical stores should have the same approach. Mobile payment and the recently announced click-and-collect initiative between eBay and Argos represent two more ways that retail is changing, but much more needs to be done to bring shopping into the modern era.”

Dan concluded, “With forward-thinking retailers like the Apple Store pioneering a more informal, less linear shopping format that allows for browsing and purchasing to be interlinked there is already a huge change underway, but the rest of the high street needs to catch up.”

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