Independent retailers should think creatively and work together to avoid going to the wall and revitalise beleaguered high streets, according to a new report ‘Collaborative Retail’ commissioned by retail marketing experts, Gekko.
In the report, which interviewed 2,000 UK adults*, nearly three quarters (73%) said they think independent retailers should collaborate to come up with innovate ideas like sharing shop space and marketing costs, cutting down on their individual overheads. Most popular ideas for shop collaborations included independent shoe and clothing retailers, favoured by 71% of consumers, followed by book shops and cafes 68% and bakeries and greengrocers 65%.
Top reasons given by consumers for suggesting collaborations are supporting the High Street 64%, supporting local businesses 63%, choice 56%, convenience 52% and an enhanced shopping experience 48%.
Alongside collaborations nearly 90% of consumers thought it was important large national retail brands roll out their new store designs and concepts to regions other than just the major high street destinations. Over fifty per cent (56%) said they would visit their local high street more if brands did this.
Nearly three quarters (70%) of consumers said they were concerned about the impact of online sales on the High Street and the local economy, but felt that the high street still had a major role to play with benefits such as ‘try before you buy’ 62%, browsing and leisure 55%, buy and takeaway 51% and the opportunity to visit multiple shops 40%.
Daniel Todaro, Managing Director of Gekko, comments: “We cannot just sit back and watch our high streets continue to degrade. Our research clearly shows that UK consumers are worried about the future of the high street and the impact its demise will have on their communities. They would love to see more independent retail collaborations and believe this is a very exciting way to inject life back into the high street and it does make sense. However, this approach to retail requires new and imaginative ideas from Government that support the legal and financial infrastructure of such initiatives. Our high streets do have a lot to offer so Government and retailers need to work together to make it an enticing proposition and lure people back.”