Thursday, 22 April 2010

Highstreet of Tomorrow

The Internet is killing the highstreet. Specifically it is killing some particular types of shops: the shops which sell a particular type of product that you buy based on its features rather than its feel in your hands.


Because in the days before google, when all we had was fire and that new-fangled wheel thing, people who wanted to buy - say - an SLR camera would go to their local camera shop and ask for advice. Then, having got the advice they would buy the camera. These days they go on the Internet and look for advice. If they find the advice they buy the camera on the Internet. If they don't find the advice, they go to the camera shop and ask. Before going home and buying the camera on the Internet.

No highstreet shops are only good for

Things you need right now
Things you need to look at and touch as you buy them
Leisure shopping

The expert is gone. Almost. Apple Stores are the exception.


Because Apple don't care if you buy things from their shop. If you ask advice in their shop, then buy online, Apple still win. Apple stores are a good deal for apple even if they only break even - the stores don't need to make a profit (though high footfall is a necessity)

So in the future we will see more shops run by the manufacturers of products, in order to provide assistance to people who want to buy their product.

This could be like the Apple store (for, say, canon cameras)
But it could also be a Google cafe (with lessons and tech talks, and free surfing)
Or a Heinz food shop (with cooking demos, and free recipes)

What we won't see in the future are mobile phone shops like "Carphone Warehouse", because they'll all be online. Instead we'll see more Orange stores. And Maybe HTC stores. Just possibly there will also be Android and Windows 7 stores too... Three different approaches, but none of them require the shop itself to make money - the shop is an added extra that you pay for in the price of the product you buy.

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