Why all high-street manufacturers ought to embrace ‘expertise retail’ (or danger disappearing)

Shopping online has soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, but brands needs to create experiences in real life to keep their customers engaged in the longer term, says Simon Hatter, founder of creative retail agency Hatter

For too long, high-street retail brands have focused on digital shopping, prioritising online sales and branding to the detriment of physical spaces. Of course Covid-19 accelerated this (by as much as four to six years according to Forbes), but it was very much a trend already in the ascendancy. Now, with lockdown lifting, we have a chance to reassess that focus and we must – because digital shopping misses the entire point of what retail can and should be: a personal experience for the consumer.

Now is the time for high-street retailers to embrace the ‘go big or go home’ experiential philosophy of their luxury counterparts. It’s not only possible for them to do so, it’s entirely necessary for the survival of the high street. Digital is a crucial retail tool, but if lockdown taught us anything, it’s that people crave human interaction, connection and moments to remember.

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