Is high street shopping going to become a thing of the past?

Unfortunately, this last twelve months has been extremely hard for many businesses within the retail sector and this has seen a lot of them having to shut their doors for good. Shops that have struggled to trade online or rely on passing trade have experienced periods of no sales at all and although they have been given some support, for many, it was simply not enough. It is likely that as the shops start to open up again as we come out of lockdown, we will see more and more gaps on the high street where high street stores and independent retails are no more. Over the last few days we have heard that retails Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Oasis will not be reopening after lockdown and has been bought out by Boohoo, an online retailer. Could it be that over the next few years more and more retails switch to online shopping? There are advantages and disadvantages of this to customers and retailers themselves. For the retailers, their overheads can be a lot less as they do not have to pay to rent premises for their shop, but then they have to invest a lot more in their marketing to attract people to their website. For consumers, not being able to handle the item and try clothing on is what often puts many off buying items online, but as many of us have had to get used to this new way of shopping recently, it may be that some never return to shopping on the high street.

Shopping online – is it the new way forward?

So many shops are still having to keep their doors closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions and therefore if they do not trade online, they simply miss out of any sales during this time. Lots of people do not like shopping online and although they may of put it off for a while, there may of come a time when they have to. Shopping online has many benefits; it allows you to compare prices easily and order from the comfort of your home. There are also some down sides to shopping online such as having to often pay a delivery fee (even for cheaper items), having to wait to have your item delivered and maybe finding out that an item you thought was on its way is actually out of stock. As we all know, sizes can vary from shop to shop and even product to product so it can be hard to ensure you select the right size without being able to see the product. You should be able to return most items bought online but you may have to pay to return it as not all shops offer free returns. This is definitely something you should check before purchasing.

Have you finished all your Christmas shopping?

Christmas shopping has been quite strange this year with many of the shops having to close at certain times throughout the last few months. It has also meant that some areas of the country have seen more shops close than others and this has made Christmas shopping a bit of a nightmare. The run up to Christmas is also a bit manic with people saying out to by last minute gifts or to fill their freezers with party food, but this year has been even worse. Due to social distancing, many people have had to cue to get in and out of shops and then queue again to pay for items. This can add hours of time on to your shopping trip and you may find rather than of doing it all in one day, you have had to go back to the shops time and time again.

If you haven’t finished your shopping yet then you may want to get moving as some shops already seem to be clearing away the Christmas gifts and decorations. If you are ordering presents only, bear in mind that they may not arrive before Christmas if sent using the normal postal service as they seem to be experiencing massive delays.

Shopping is not what it used to be

Many people see shopping, especially for non-essential items, as a bit of therapy. It is often referred to as retail therapy because for some it helps lift their mood.

During lockdown all the non-essential shops where clothes and many people had to turn to online shopping to feed their shopping habits. For many this is not the same and the fact that you have to go through the hassle of often paying for delivery and then paying again to return it if it does not fit, put many people off.

The shops have no reopened and people have started flocking to the centres. Although the shops are open, the experience is very much different from how it used to be. The majority of the clothing shops do not have their changing rooms open meaning that you cannot try anything on before you buy it. Many shops are even not allowing you to try coats etc on over the top of your own clothes due to the risk of contamination. For many of us, we simply cannot always walk into a shop and know that an item will fit. A pair of size 12 jeans in one shop may fit perfect but in another be too big or small. You will have to purchase items and then take them home to try them on before being able to decide if you want to keep them.  Shopping certainly has changed, but hopefully one day it will return to normal.

What’s happened to the postal services?

With the UK still under lock down, the postal service seems to have been struggling a bit. As the majority of shops are shut most people are turning to online shopping to get their supplies. Places such as Ebay, Amazon and clothing retailers have seen a huge spike in traffic and purchases through their sites and this has had a knock on effect on the postal service.

Some retails send mail out via the Royal Mail and others have their own delivery drives or use third party couriers to dispatch items. It seems that all logistical companies have been hit and with social distance rules that have to be adhered to and staff members self isolating, this has just added even more pressure to the situation.

The Royal Mail had said that they were going to cut out Saturday deliveries for now to catch up on mail in the sorting office, but this only seems to have happened in some areas.

If you have ordered something online, most retails are cutting the cost of their delivery charges and stating that delivery times are expected to take longer than usual at present. If this is not the case and you paid for delivery within a certain time which didn’t happen, I would contact the company and ask them to refund you the delivery fee paid.